ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on March 10th, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Are Senators Exhibiting Unlawful Command Influence Over Military Sexual Assaults?

That is what this defense lawyer believes:

All of which worries military defense attorneys and scholars, who fear a congressional overreaction.

“The senators’ … statements are a danger to the fair administration of military justice, not just in the Wilkerson case, but in all pending and future military justice cases, especially those involving sexual assault,” defense attorney Phil Cave cautioned in an interview.

A former Navy legal officer, Cave added that lawmakers’ “specific interference” in the Wilkerson case amounted to an abuse of their authority and might amount to unlawful command influence. Wilkerson’s civilian defense attorney, Frank Spinner, agreed in an interview Friday that “the senators’ statements may constitute unlawful command influence and will have a chilling effect” on military officials. [Stars & Stripes]

It is very arguable that due to political pressure that sexual assault cases that should have never went to trial due to lack of evidence are going to trial anyway due to commanders fearing for their careers.

Meanwhile, a McClatchy Newspapers review of nearly 70 military sexual assault cases, involving thousands of pages obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, found that commanding officers aggressively pursue sexual assault prosecutions, sometimes over the objections or concerns of investigators. Many acquittals have resulted. (…..)

This may be particularly true in a political climate where commanding officers feel pressure to prosecute sexual assault allegations. In the Marine Corps, for instance, tough talk by the commandant has complicated dozens of sexual assault cases, as defense attorneys repeatedly raise the claim of unlawful command influence.

The McClatchy review of previously unreported documents from 68 sexual assault cases at Georgia’s Fort Benning, North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune, California’s Camp Pendleton and several other bases nationwide found commanding officers sometimes using their prosecutorial discretion to proceed with weak cases. In 30 of the 68 cases, the defendants were acquitted or were found guilty only of lesser charges.

In a number of the acquittals McClatchy reviewed, commanding officers had proceeded with prosecution despite explicit objections or serious questions raised by investigating officers.

Likewise it is arguable that juries are also under political pressure to convict servicemembers in these cases in order to not be accused of being soft on sexual assault. Is it any wonder why the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has been overturning rape convictions under such conditions? It seems like there is so much command influence to convict servicemembers accused of sexual assault that defense lawyers will likely start using this as a reason to justify appeals for their clients? Any lawyers out there want to comment on this?

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  • William
    10:01 pm on March 12th, 2013 1

    If the Senators are indeed exerting unlawful influence, they are in for a world of hurt.

    The unfortunate situation of trying to prosecute the suspect of a sexual assualt crime is greatly compounded when the victim in a timely manner does not get a SAFE exam to collect physical evidence. Without physical evidence, it is difficult situation for both sides.

    There are WAY to many sexual assualts that go unreported and a LOT of the ones reported are not unrestricted reporting that allows CID to investigate and get evidence.

  • someotherguy
    7:35 am on March 13th, 2013 2

    Just like I predicted would happen. Liberals are in an uproar, they only like due process when it applies to them.

    Also funny how the liberal’s aren’t mentioning the material that General got to see that wasn’t allowed into the trial, which in turn biased the jury against the defendant. Character witness’s and any material that directly calls into question the truthfulness or honestly isn’t allowed due to “victim rights”. It’s like trying to win a he-said-she-said argument with duct tape around your mouth.

  • Liz
    9:56 am on March 13th, 2013 3

    #1: There isn’t a SAFE exam available which would support the charge here, which was ‘fondling’.

  • Ole Tanker
    10:53 am on March 13th, 2013 4

    If there was digital penetration as she alleges, she should have rushed to the Hospital and got a DNA swab from “you know where”,……her shirt, of course.

  • Liz
    12:22 pm on March 13th, 2013 5

    She was too inebriated to go to the hospital.
    Though I’m sure that had no impact whatsoever on her recollection of events.

  • Ole Tanker
    2:03 pm on March 13th, 2013 6

    That’s it! The secret info the General had sole knowledge of! Only the woman accuser of the 3 adults involved was inebriated! I knew it was obvious:)

  • Liz
    2:18 pm on March 13th, 2013 7

    I’m sure at least two of the adults were inebriated. The wife is probably the only person who has a clear recollection of events.

  • Ole Tanker
    5:06 pm on March 13th, 2013 8

    Liz! Isn’t the wife the one with the most to to speak:)

  • someotherguy
    2:24 pm on March 14th, 2013 9

    Honestly, pretty much any sexual contact between service members can be construed as rape if alcohol was involved. All the women needs to do is say she was drunk and couldn’t remember well / was confused / ect. It then becomes the defense’s job to disprove that part which is nearly impossible as no negative character witness or statements are allowed against the victim.

    This is an important case because you have both the guy and his wife claiming he never touched the women and thus no sexual contact took place. It’s literally their word vs hers with her doing this great emotional appeal and the command instruction that he’s basically guilty to begin with.

    Honestly after digging into details, I just can’t see it happening. We’re supposed to believe this guy put his finger in her twat while she was passed out even though he’s in bed with his wife?

  • Glans
    6:44 pm on March 14th, 2013 10

    The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women is writing a declaration on women’s rights. Susan Rice (US ambassador to the UN) says: “All 50 states in our union now have laws that treat date rape or spousal rape as just as much of a crime as rape by a stranger.” “We cannot live in truly free societies, if women and girls are not free to reach their full potential.” The Muslim Brotherhood, which tries to govern Egypt, says the declaration would give “wives full rights to file legal complaints against husbands accusing them of rape or sexual harassment, obliging competent authorities to deal husbands punishments similar to those prescribed for raping or sexually harassing a stranger.” It said the declaration would allow “equal rights to homosexuals, and provide protection and respect for prostitutes” and “equal rights to adulterous wives and illegitimate sons resulting from adulterous relationships.” It urges all Muslims to oppose the declaration. Iran, Russia, and the Vatican oppose it, too. Iran and the Vatican don’t surprise me. I’d like to know more about Russia’s position, but this Reuters report by Michelle Nichols doesn’t explain.

    There’s nothing about Korea or the military, but I thought ROK Droppers might want to be informed about developments in the field of women’s rights.

  • Ole Tanker
    7:30 am on March 17th, 2013 11

    Dam, a guity verdict, the PC crowd got it again.

    There’s still hope, if we all sign a petition, the President can pardon the 2 young men and they can go on to the AF Academy and become fighter pilots.

    Come on guys!! The biatch was DRUNK, she was askin for it!!!

  • Liz
    9:17 am on March 17th, 2013 12

    There is actual photographic evidence (as well as witness testimony) that the 16 year old minor was unconscious and dragged around, while people violated her and pissed on her. And you are drawing some sort of equivalency to the events here?
    The “victim” in this case was 50 years old. She was too drug to drive home and crashed at this house. There is no evidence whatsoever beyond her good word that what she claims a hazy recollection of occurred.

  • Liz
    9:29 am on March 17th, 2013 13

    Sounds to me, Ole Tanker, that you are just giddy at the prospect of any fighter pilot going to prison regardless of any facts on the matter.

  • Bobby Ray
    9:32 am on March 17th, 2013 14

    I reckon I see the lesson here. If you ever decide to get nasty with some gal, find one so old and ugly aint nobody going to believe you did it. And whatever you do, dont be streaming no live video feed to your twitter followers.

  • Liz
    9:39 am on March 17th, 2013 15

    #14: And do it while the wife and kids, and some other kids you’re babysitting, are in the house. Because this will be a fun thing to risk your 20 year career on.

  • Ole Tanker
    3:20 pm on March 17th, 2013 16

    Liz! The only “giddy” folks in this whole affair is a LTC and his wife, her moreso than him because she will likely drop her divorce papers shortly after they retire:)

    Honestly I can only imagine. God knows it must be tuff being an AF spouse at Aviano.


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