U.S.

July 25, 2013

Commanders should retain prosecution authority, leaders say

Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON – The nation’s top military leaders told senators today that commanders should retain responsibility for prosecuting service members accused of sexual assault.

Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that taking that authority away could harm good order and discipline.

Dempsey and Winnefeld are under Senate consideration for second two-year terms in their posts.

Keeping commanders in the process ensures there is an active deterrent to the crime, Winnefeld said. “Somebody who is contemplating a sexual assault knows that they’re going to be caught, that they’re going to be prosecuted, and if they’re prosecuted, they’re going to be punished,” he said. “It’s our strong view that the commander is responsible for that.”

Dempsey told the senators that Army officials have looked at the numbers on sexual assault prosecutions over the past two years and found 35 cases in which civilian district attorneys refused to take sexual assault cases to court.

“And the chain of command in the military insisted that the case be taken inside the military chain of command,” he said.

Of those cases, 25 resulted in a court-martial conviction.

“That’s a 71 percent conviction rate,” the chairman said. The civilian rate is between 18 and 22 percent.

Dempsey stressed that this was done because commanders insisted on taking these cases. “I worry that if we turn this over to somebody else, whether it’s a civilian DA or an entity in the military, that they’re going to make the same kind of decisions that those civilian prosecutors make,” he said.

Commanders must be responsible for ensuring the command climate does not tolerate sexual assault in any manner, Winnefeld said.

“It’s about teaching people what a heinous crime this is,” he added. “It’s about reporting it if you see it. It’s about intervening if you see it about to happen — a whole host of measures that commanders must take to establish the climate inside their commands.”

The Marine Corps also had examples similar to the Army, the admiral said. The Marine Corps went back to 2010 and found 28 cases in which civilian prosecutors declined to take the case.

“Of those, 16 of them, the Marine Corps was able to obtain a conviction of court-martial — 57 percent,” Winnefeld said. “So those are 16 perpetrators that are no longer walking the street and 16 victims who received justice who would not have received it otherwise.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
12AF_pict

AFSOUTH medics arrive in Belize to facilitate obstetrics course

Three International Health Specialists and three non-governmental organization personnel supporting the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) arrived in Belize to facilitate the Global Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics Instruc...
 
 

355th FSS invites D-M to join intramurals

The 355th Force Support Squadron would like to invite all Active Duty and Department of Defense personnel to join the intramural sports program. The intramural sports program is an organized sports competition designed to meet the needs of all personnel beginning at the lowest levels. Active duty personnel have priority in all programs as determined...
 
 

55th Electronic Combat Group

The 55th Electronic Combat Group provides combat-ready EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, crews, maintenance and operational support to combatant commanders. The group also plans and executes information operations, including information warfare and electronic attack, in support of theater campaign plans.
 

 

DUI in Arizona: You can’t afford it

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. –  Arizona has some of the toughest drunken driving laws in the United States. The average overall cost of a DUI in the state of Arizona is around $10,000. Crazy, right? Ten thousand dollars may seem hard to swallow at first, but first time offenders often find themselves paying considerable unforeseen...
 
 

Is being good, good enough?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – In today’s Air Force can you settle with just being good? I say, “No.” With the Air Force executing the deepest force cuts since the end of the cold war with programs such as the Quality Force Review Board and the Enlisted Retention Board, what you do and how well you...
 
 

‘Final Rule’ offers broader mental health care coverage

WASHINGTON – TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries will now have access to both TRICARE-certified mental health counselors and supervised mental health counselors, a Defense Health Agency official said here today. In an interview with DoD News, Dr. John Davison, DHA’s behavioral health branch chief, said the so-called “Final Rule,” published yesterday, will go into effect...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin