The Army’s new sexual assault cases czar [updated:  actually called the Director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO)], MGEN Gary Patton, said yesterday that he wants to eradicate sexual assault in the ranks. Patton told Reuters, here, that he “trusts existing investigation methods used by the military.”  He added:

If you were to take the disciplinary component and put it into some external, centralized, whatever, body, independent, apart from the chain of the command, you’ve just removed the commander from the problem and tied the commander’s hands.

 

Various stories today about white supremacist groups’ efforts to recruit current and former military members. A few are here (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch) and here.

Some commentary from the press (WaPo, here) on the leak reducing legislation in Congress right now. The headline that, essentially, without leaks reporters won’t be able to do their jobs probably won’t sit well with anyone who has a security clearance.

18 Responses to “Military Justice News for Aug. 7, 2012”

  1. rob klant says:

    “Nancy Parrish, president of the advocacy group Protect Our Defenders, said Patton should take a hard-line approach to revamping the military’s justice system instead of focusing on education programs that are SAPRO’s hallmark….’The military code of justice was created in the ’30s and it needs to be modernized,’ she said.”

    Created in the ’30s?   Sounds like more education is exactly what’s needed.

  2. Dew_Process says:

    Another, “War on . . . . .”

  3. stewie says:

    At this point, I sorta give up. Let’s just have all sexual assaults prosecuted by civilians. Feds/State/whomever. Then sit back a couple of years from now and see how that works for everyone involved.

  4. Charlie Gittins says:

    The military code was enacted in the 30’s.  Very good!  Don’t confuse things with facts.  Let’s just act on emotion. Give me a break.  Is there a reason that DoD allows retards to get involved in major policy decisions?  If you make the loudest noise, regardless of competence, does that really count?  It shouldn’t in a world that was ruled by reason.  And you wonder why I don’t do military justice any more?  Tired of dealing with f-tards in charge.

     

  5. N says:

    I’m with Stewie. It would be great to see a litany of articles about how the DOJ doesn’t care about sexual assault…

  6. k fischer says:

    I would be right there with N and Stewie, except that expenses of defense witness appearances in the Federal system would be borne by the Defendant instead of the Government (or that is my understanding.  I could be wrong.)

    Plus, what would happen to all those SVP slots?  Would they move to SAUSA’s? 

    And that only covers the alleged rapes on post.  Off-post would be an entirely different story.

    How about the status of the Servicemember who is awaiting trial? 

    However, they do it, it will be good for the sexual assault criminal defense bar, and bad for those Servicemembers who are stuck with a public defender who is carrying a caseload of 200 clients.

  7. stewie says:

    Obviously are comments were facetious. No one wants the accused to lose out on rights. Still, I think the best current combination of protecting the victim and the accused still occurs in our system.

    Obviously, not the best POSSIBLE combination because still haven’t found that sweet spot between the various obligations.

  8. Zachary Spilman says:

    Patton said his goal is to wipe out sexual assaults from within the U.S. military’s ranks.

    Wipe out sexual assaults, meaning none whatsoever? Not even any allegations?

    There were 3,192 reports of sexual assault in the military last fiscal year, a 1 percent increase from the previous year.

    Despite the problem with the definition of “sexual assault” – or more importantly the lack thereof – and the question of what is meant by “in the military,” this is an important statistic. At the beginning of last fiscal year, there were 1,430,985 worldwide active duty personnel. That computes to a “sexual assault” rate of 2.2 per thousand personnel.

    The national FBI’s crime stats for 2010, show that the national rate for forcible rape was .27 per thousand persons. The rate for aggravated assault was 2.5 per thousand. 

    At first glance, someone could say the DOD has a problem there…

    But only 791 subjects were disciplined, as commanders routinely lack sufficient evidence to prosecute cases.

    Now that probably means something pretty significant, despite the problem with the definition of the term “discipline” – or more importantly the lack thereof – and the question of what is meant by “subjects.”

    791 sexual assaults for 1.43 million personnel computes to a rate of .55 per thousand.

  9. Anonymous Air Force Senior Defense Counsel with intials NM says:

    “k fischer” & “stewie”:  I wouldn’t worry about the status of the servicemember awaiting trial too much.  My guess is there would  be less of that because civilians are allowed to “non-process” cases, whereas the military is now being compelled to prosecute everything.  Personally, I would trade my rights in exchange for having a prosecutor who can actually exercise some discretion.

  10. Lieber says:

    Personally, I think a primary issue is that our investigations suck.  We have 22 year old E-5s investigating complex sexual assault cases (at least in the Army)…the equivalent of inexperienced beat cops being detectives.  there’s your recipe for disaster right there.  it’s the outcome of the military mindset where we have junior enlisted doing jobs that in the real world require a college degree (a real one not an online one).  ever wonder why Army “journalism” is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors?  cause we think a high school education is good enough to write copy.  anyway, in my experience CID is usually in way over their heads (obviously there are exceptions).  What would really do everyone some good (prosecution and defense) is if we hired experienced civilian detectives to run our sexual assault investigations.  we’re screwing these up before they ever get to the TC.  a clever (especially more mature) accused (or alleged victim) can run circles around your average CID agent.

  11. Lieber says:

    or at the least, make CID an officer branch (and PAO for that matter)

  12. Phil Cave says:

    I agree poor investigations are a key problem.  These poor investigations do a disservice to real victims and at the same time do a disservice to the falsely accused.  So long as an investigation is flawed with investigator (confirmation) bias, among other things, we will not get a true understanding of the depth and extent of the problem.  When an investigator says “I believe you” and then ignores evidence or witnesses to the contrary we get weak flawed and potentially false allegations.  When investigators rely on a weak, ambiguous, inconsistent “confession” to stop the investigation and throw it to the prosecutors we get cases that can end up in acquittals — some of which may be wrong.

    I have spoken to plenty of members who have no or almost no belief in the integrity, reliability, or quality of CID, NCIS, OSI, investigations.  Lieber’s comment about the E-5, as one member said, “in a plastic suit with a badge and power,” is not far off the mark.  And I do not find much difference.  That said, the best quality investigations I have consistently seen have come from Army MPI and Marine CID.  For some reason they get the idea they are there to investigate and not just to get enough to convict.

     

  13. stewie says:

    I feel many CID and other agents try to do the right thing. I also believe and agree that way too many of them have no clue what that is, don’t have the requisite training, education, or experience, and that getting professional investigators (either civilians or make all CID agents either officers or warrants) would greatly improve things.
    At least for sexual assault investigations, we can leave the enlisted agents to do everything else. That would definitely tighten things up both ways (for accused and victims).

  14. WWJD says:

    Phil,
     
    I would not blame the investigators for shoddy trials that are taken up by JAG/Command.
    I am not sure if making all CID Agents Officers and Warrants would improve things.  There are a need for enlisted investigators.

  15. Phil Cave says:

    WWJD.  No, I’m partially blaming investigators with shoddy investigations which end up with shoddy cases being taken up by the command. But, I’m also complaining that shoddy investigations also hide the cases that should be dismissed early.

    I agree that making CID agents all officers doesn’t necessarily solve the problem.  I think it’s Stewie who wants higher ranks with the likely higher amount of experience that would go with it. 

  16. stewie says:

    not to be defensive but here’s what I typed guys:
     
    “getting professional investigators (either civilians or make all CID agents either officers or warrants) would greatly improve things.”
    I didn’t say it would solve the problem, but I did and do think it would improve things. I see no reason why more experience and education in our investigators would do anything but help.

  17. WWJD says:

    To my knowledge, enlisted investigators go through much of the same training as officers.  An extra degree in underwater basket weaving is not going to help.
    But your point is taken nonetheless

  18. stewie says:

    four years of college? Generally older and more experienced? No, not the same training. Obviously, we’d also increase the training because we will have had folks generally more intelligent, more experienced, and we could supplement with civilian HQEs. You know, looking at ways to solve the problem instead of throwing up our hands and talking mockingly about underwater basket weaving.