Handling military sexual assault crimes in the military…the debate continues.
In March I posted a blog talking about how sexual assault in the military is all over the news these days. Well, this continues to be true as top military leaders resist proposals by some Senators that sexual assaults should no longer be handled by the military chain of command. One of the bills introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand seeks to ensure that sexual assault victims may report these crimes to military officials outside of their chain of command because she believes that cases are not being reported due to a fear of retribution. Another bill introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill seeks to prevent military convening authorities from being able to overturn a court martial finding after the completion of the court-martial because recently this has occurred twice in military sexual assault cases. Senator McCaskill also argues that when a servicemember is charged with a sexual assault crime, a commander should not consider his commendable service in the military when deciding how to handle his case. At a hearing on Capitol Hill this past Tuesday all of the top military leaders involved argued against these proposals. These military leaders agree that sexual assault in the military is a significant problem, but they all assert that military commanders are the best suited to handle these cases from start to finish. These leaders believe that if this power is taken from commanders, their ability to control the conduct of those serving will be severely hampered. These leaders also believe that it is extremely important that the accused’s commander and the victim’s commander remain a large part of the court-martial process. When choosing an attorney to handle your sexual assault court-martial or court-martial appeal, you need a court-martial attorney who fully understands the political environment right now. I have the experience to know how to best handle the accusations against you. Recently, I have been able to get excellent results both at the court-martial level and in court-martial appeals for those clients of mine facing sexual assault charges. Just this past month for example, I was able to get a client’s sexual assault conviction overturned on appeal. (See, Recent Accomplishments page.) Deciding who represents you at court-martial or in a court martial appeal in this current political climate is a difficult decision and one you and your family should not take lightly. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.