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Military Justice Improvement Act Gains Support in Congress

By Joseph Low on July 31, 2013

In response to the growing debate about the efficacy of the military justice system, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. and bi-partisan supporters sponsored a new bill in Congress that would overhaul the existing chain of command in military trials. The effort is spurred on by a 34% increase in military sexual assault incidents in the past year, according to the Department of Justice.

The Military Justice Improvement Act proposes to move the decision-making authority from military commanders for cases of sexual assault and other serious crimes to military prosecutors instead. The bill would also prohibit the use of a military member’s service record as evidence to argue reasonable doubt, thereby preventing a case from going to trial.

Supporters of the proposed legislation argue that victims are less likely to report sexual assault or other serious crimes to their commanders for fear of suffering professional or social retaliation. Placing authority with an outside source would help create a more objective, unbiased system that would protect victims, instead of shaming or punishing them for coming forward.

Military leaders that oppose the bill argue that serious crimes should be dealt with internally in order to protect the commanders’ ability to maintain order and discipline among the ranks. The bill has gained support from a bipartisan coalition of 33 Senators, which makes up at least a third of the Senate.

The military justice system is complex and very different from the civilian court system. When faced with military criminal charges, it is important to have an accomplished lawyer on your side who understands what you are up against. As a former Marine, Joseph H. Low, IV has the experience to fight for his clients’ rights with an aggressive defense against criminal accusations in military trials. Call the San Diego military defense lawyer at (888) 454-5569 to discuss your circumstances and to learn about your legal options.

Posted in: Military Defense

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