Commentary

April 25, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: The Legal Perspective

Air Force graphic by Naoko Shimoji

All sexual assault allegations are taken very seriously by members of the Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps, including those of us at Edwards Air Force Base.

In recent weeks, you have read articles from other base organizations that investigate and provide assistance to victims of sexual assaults.

While the legal office works closely with those organizations, we are the organization responsible for advising commanders regarding UCMJ actions and ultimately prosecuting sexual assaults.

JA is one of the first organizations notified anytime there is an unrestricted report of sexual assault.

The Staff Judge Advocate assigns an attorney and a paralegal to begin working on a sexual assault case as soon as we are notified. JA coordinates closely with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations from the outset of any investigation.

The ultimate goal for JA as the government representative is to seek justice, which may involve prosecuting offenders in courts. All our actions revolve around the basic premise that any given case may end up being decided in a court of law.

The attorney and paralegal assigned to the case review evidence, interview witnesses and prepare for trial should a trial become necessary based on the evidence.

While it is difficult to describe the entire courts-martial process in a short article, it is important to understand that in sexual assault cases the victim is an extremely critical witness for the government.

When a victim testifies at court, he or she has the opportunity to provide their side of the story. A victim’s testimony is a key piece of the justice puzzle that enables the ultimate fact finder, whether that is a judge or a panel of members, to determine questions of guilt and appropriate sentences.

If you have any questions about the courts-martial process, or the legal office in general, do not hesitate to stop by the 412th Test Wing legal office in Bldg. 1.




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter

15 seconds: A rude awakening

U.S. Air Force illustration by Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter Airmen and their families hit the road every summer to travel and enjoy a little relaxation. When making travel arrangements that involve driving long distances, be sure...
 
 

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community

Who are you living for, or in other words who is writing your life’s story?  Do you call the shots in life or is there someone bigger?  The famed writer Wendell Berry says, “the significance – and ultimate quality – of the work we do is determined by our understanding of the story in which...
 
 

The voice within

LANGLEY AFB, Va.†-†”Can your significant other sexually assault you?” The answer was a resounding silence. No one knew how to answer the “Sex Signals” speaker. I knew. I knew the answer. Rather, the sudden urge to vomit and then excuse myself from the auditorium gave me my answer. “Yes. Oh, my God. Yes,” said a...
 

 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Professor Clayton Christensen at Harvard Business School makes this observation about what truly matters in life.  ”If you study the root causes of business disasters, over and over you’ll find this predisposition toward endeavors that offer immediate gratification. If you look at personal lives through that lens, you’ll see the same stunning and sobering pattern:...
 
 

Understanding sergeant’s words: ‘I’ve got your back’

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Seeing the newly selected staff sergeants recently brought back memories of when I was selected for staff sergeant. Actually, my thoughts went to the night I graduated Airman Leadership School. As I crossed the stage after receiving my completion certificate, my co-workers gathered to congratulate me and shake my...
 
 

Life is moving, move with it

MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga.†-†”You can’t be neutral on a moving train” is a famous quote, and the title of a memoir and documentary about the life of author, historian and activist Howard Zinn. What this means is that things are happening all around us, and everything in life is moving in a certain direction....
 




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>