From this Huffington Post editorial by Sen. Claire McCaskill:

By that measurement, an alternative approach being proposed this week — one that would completely strip commanders of their responsibilities, including the ability to launch courts-martial — falls short. Here’s why:

It would leave a huge number of victims behind. Over the past two years, there have been at least 93 cases in which prosecutors declined to pursue charges, but in which a commander launched a court martial. And many of those courts-martial resulted in convictions. That’s 93 victims who would never have had their day in court if commanders lost the ability to bring a case to court martial. We’ve also found almost no cases in which a prosecutor wanted to pursue charges but was overruled by a commander. Stripping commanders of the ability to launch courts-martial seeks to solve a problem — commanders refusing to move cases forward — that we just don’t have.

As I said before, here, the former sex crimes prosecutor should be applauded for really learning about this issue.  I can’t say I agree with all of her responses to this issue, see e.g. the nomination of LTG Helms here, but you have to give her credit for really trying to figure out the consequences of changes and not just proposing changes for political value.

5 Responses to “Sen. McCaskill Adds Metrics to MilJus Reform Debate”

  1. Cap'n Crunch says:

    I have an idea…. Why don’t we simply refer these sexual assault cases (and murder cases, rape cases, and other serious cases, etc) to the local U.S. Attorney’s office, or, if overseas, to the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia to deal with.  We can change the jurisdiction statute to accommodate.  You could cap military justice cases at 10 years, DD, etc, max.  Let the Federal District Judge be empowered to adjudicate the discharge as part of sentencing as is done now for the more serious cases.  Ensure that there is probable cause, by presenting these serious cases to the grand jury, and ensure that there is due process in the trial setting by presenting them in the full forum of a federal criminal trial.  Allow Commanders the ability to place detainers, and detain, for up to 14 days, and transfer such personnel to D.C. for criminal processing, or the appropriate U.S. Attorney’s office.  If they are acquitted, they get transferred back.  After the statutory changes are made, let DoD and DoJ enter into an appropriate MOU for handling.  Leave the UA/Desertion, petty theft, and similar cases that are perhaps more minor and “run of the mill” to the commander and the UCMJ.  This would not require major changes to the U.S. Code, the Military Justice System, or the like.  You then de-politicize the entire thing (to the extent it can be done), ensure due process, let the criminal justice system handle the criminals, and the military justice system stay focused on its mission, which is preserving good order and discipline.

  2. ArmyTC says:

    HA! That’s all I have to say to that idea. The U.S. Attorneys don’t take cases they can’t win. I’ve had bad experiences with major theft of property cases where they poach the sure wins and leave the terrible cases behind for the Army to prosecute. I’ve also seen them refuse to prosecute a civilian on military sexual assault that a military prosecutor would be salivating over.
    Much respect to the DOJ, but this is not an area they do well in.

  3. stewie says:

    Of course that solution wouldn’t solve or even reduce the problem, nor would it help the interests really of anyone here.
     
    It would provide some satisfaction of an I told you so nature, but that’s it.

  4. k fischer says:

    Stewie, 
     
    In addition to the feelings of schaudenfreude, perhaps, the military could back to fighting the enemy instead of fighting sexual assault, which is the #1 mission of the US military these days.
     
    Right now, I just hope for anything that would make Senator Gillibrand speak and not make me fantasize about being this little kid from the Twighlight Zone who gets whatever he wishes.