Chain of Command in Sexual Assault Cases is Being Questioned

Chain of Command in Sexual Assault Cases is Being Questioned

Currently in the military there is a chain of command and a system for how to address sexual assault allegations. The chief officials in the military had a hearing with the Senate committee and the military officers are opposed to the idea of allowing prosecutors to handle these cases. With the present system, sexual assault investigations are handled in courts martial and the verdict is decided by the judge advocate general. The commanding officer of the defendant however, has the right to overthrow the verdict at the end of the case. This turn of events has made sexual assault victims in the armed forces afraid to come forward in fear that they will face repercussions after the allegation falls through.

The military stood up to the Senate committee stating that the military justice system is a completely different animal than the civilian court and that removing the indispensable role of the commanding officers would not work. In order for the system to work effectively, the military believes that the chain of command should be fully engaged when resolving any military matter. The Chief Officers are dedicated to restoring faith in the system and they have assured that it is actually a rare occurrence for commanders to ignore the advice of the judge advocate general in sexual assault cases.

The Senate committee is proposing that the decision of prosecution should be taken away from commanders and to allow prosecutors to come in to investigate these cases. They brought up the issue of trust and how devastating it would be if the troops did not have faith in one another. Many Senators believe that it is time to change the law and the chain of command to combat the plague of sexual assault in the ranks. The Senate also proposed that commanders should no longer be able to overturn a guilty verdict in sexual assault cases. When verdicts are overturned by commanders, the victims feel helpless and they begin to lose their trust in the system. Is seems that sexual assault is a deep rooted problem in the military and it will be very interesting to see if the chain of command remains the same or if major changes will be made.

Here at Dishman Military Advocates, we provide aggressive defense for military members throughout the United States. We are committed to defending those who defend us and we understand how devastating a criminal conviction could be for your military career. Our lead Attorney, Brent Dishman, served on active duty in the Air Force for many years before becoming a military criminal defense lawyer and he knows the ins and outs of the system. If you are facing courts martial or you have been accused of sexual assault, then speak with military criminal defense attorney Brent Dishman without delay.

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