Here is what Congresswoman Jackie Speier had to say about the result of the General Sinclair trial:
On display was a military legal system, apparently eager to show it was getting tough on sexual misconduct cases, that instead bungled the case.
On Thursday, Sinclair was sentenced. He received a reprimand and has to forfeit some pay. But he got no jail time. His sentence is a mockery of military justice, a slap on the wrist nowhere close to being proportional to his offenses.
But the Sinclair case is not typical of most military sexual assault cases. Sinclair had a three-year relationship and allegedly forced sex with a female captain under his command. The prosecution was problematic partly because the accuser may have told lies and partly because senior military officers may have brought harsher than usual charges.
We don’t want commanders feeling that they need to appear tough on sexual assault by bringing charges that aren’t warranted — just as we don’t want them sweeping them under the rug. This is another example of what happens when a system is reliant on people who are not legal experts, rather than on trained independent prosecutors. [CNN]
First question is what should he have received jail time for? Adultery and being a disgraceful leader usually causes divorce and possibly the loss of ones job, not jail time in the civilian world. Does Congresswoman Speier think former President Clinton should be in jail as well for adultery and being a disgrace like Sinclair? As I have already pointed out with other cases, these convictions usually do not lead to jail time by themselves from a court martial. It is usually more serious charges that added to adultery and inappropriate relationship charges that get you jail time. That is why I think the government travel card fraud conviction should have been something pursued more robustly to justify some jail time.
My next comment is in regards to the statement that the accuser may have told lies. No the accuser did tell lies which is indisputable. As far as bringing harsher charges, the officers in charge did this because of political pressure from special interests. Does anyone think the special interests would not be claiming the Army was covering up sexual assaults if they did not charge Sinclair with a sexual assault crime despite the lies and lack of evidence?
Here is what else the Congresswoman had to say:
Despite the problems with this particular case, we need to confront the bigger issue with the military prosecution system in cases of sexual assault and misconduct. There are an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults a year in the military — but reporting is low, courts-martial are rare and the conviction rate is less than 1%. The vast majority of sexual assault and rape cases in the military show a pattern of suppression, where if a report is made the victim fears retaliation and the loss of his or her job.
As I have stated repeatedly the 26,000 number is a fraud and not true. Now she is saying that commander’s are suppressing sexual assault cases from going to a court martial, which McClatchey News long ago showed was not true, but she was just complaining about commander’s being overzealous in prosecuting Sinclair. It is pretty obvious that facts no longer matter on this issue and additionally that no matter what the military does the special interests will not be happy until they get the prosecutors in charge of preferring charges like they want. I will let others speculate why that is.