Here is an ArmytTimes report on Sen. Gillibrand’s victory today in the SASC Personnel Subcommittee.  Her Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 apparently won approval in her subcommittee without debate, reports Army Times. But the NY Daily News, here, and others report that Sen. Levin, SASC chair, will propose an alternative to the sweeping change in the MJIA.  Sen. Levin’s amendment will reportedly offer “an alternative measure that requires automatic review of any general’s decision not to prosecute sexual assault at the next level of command during the committee’s markup of an annual defense authorization bill Wednesday.”

11 Responses to “Sen. Gillibrand Wins Subcommittee Vote on Sweeping MilJus Reform, May Lose in SASC”

  1. David Bargatze says:

    Or we could just go back to the rule under the Articles of War. “[N]o person shall be tried by court-martial for murder or rape committed within the geographical limits of the States of the Union and the District of Columbia in time of peace.” See Lee v. Madigan, 358 US 228 (1959).
     
    I recognize that rape no longer exists as a capital offense, but I’m surprised the historical specific statutory lack of military jurisdiction over the crime hasn’t been noted by the purported reformers. It used to be in civilian hands, but Congress changed it. It might be useful to understand why and consider if changing it back is really the right thing to do given massive changes such as the size of the standing military, the all-volunteer force, etc.

  2. Babu says:

    “All glory is fleeting”
    As expected, Sen Gillibrand’s measure was chopped out by Sen Levin:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/12/us/politics/proposed-measure-to-curb-sexual-assault-in-military-to-be-cut-from-bill.html?hp&_r=0

  3. Atticus says:

    “an alternative measure that requires automatic review of any general’s decision not to prosecute sexual assault at the next level of command during the committee’s markup of an annual defense authorization bill Wednesday.”  So a two-start gets his decision reviewed by a three-star, etc?  This is nothing.  And it ignores the fact that most superior commanders are loathe to reverse the decision of a subordinate commander when dealing with “good order and discipline.” 

  4. stewie says:

    How would giving it back to the civilians solve anything? Overburdened, slow state courts, who won’t take anything but the most “winnable” cases to trial.

  5. Tami says:

    I don’t think there would be any review of decisions not to prosecute, as GCMCAs have a preference to refer sexual assault cases to trial, regardless of whether the evidence is sufficient to get a conviction.  That’s a big part of the problem that Congress doesn’t want to address, because it would be politically incorrect to say some SA cases shouldn’t go to trial.

  6. Old RetiredGuy says:

    That decisions whether to prosecute requiring higher level of review is just another level of UCI to be concerned about.
     

  7. N says:

    Stewie: We’d get to hear a lot less about it. Most days I want it to happen, if only so in 5 years I can laugh at everyone when they see how few cases are prosecuted.

  8. k fischer says:

    N, 
     
    I agree, and it’s a win-win.  Either more cases are brought and civilian attorneys make more money, or less cases are brought and I enjoy the schaudenfreude.
     
    I like these reforms proposed by Senator MacCaskill, particularly the automatic dismissal or DD for any sex assault conviction.  If panels know this, then I think we will see more acquittals and less convictions for rape with no kick.  Of course, in about twenty years Congress can blame military panels as “the good ‘ole boy network taking care of their own,” and they will tinker with the panel system in an attempt to get more convictions.
    http://www.kansascity.com/2013/06/12/4289559/mccaskill-continues-push-to-crack.html

  9. stewie says:

    I think if it’s truly sexual assault then yes, it’s kinda crazy to have a conviction for said thing and no kick.
    If it’s abusive/wrongful sexual contact, then not so much.  I only say this because so many outside folks seem to amalgamate the two.

  10. Dew_Process says:

    Oh ye Congresscritters of little faith – here’s one example of how “civilians” handle these types of cases!!
     
    http://tinyurl.com/kvchcjh