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Review Ordered for Ruling Allowing Overrule of Court Martial Convictions

By Joseph Low on March 18, 2013

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the rules that let military commanders to overrule court martial convictions that have come from military juries. The decision is a result of a recent decision by an Air Force general to throw out a jury conviction for aggravated sexual assault against an F-16 fighter pilot, according to ABC News.

The man had been convicted of assault on a base in Italy, but the base’s Inspector General threw out the conviction and reinstated him with a clear record. Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), military convictions go to the case’s convening authority, which is a commander, for the final action.

Hagel is ordering a review of the case to see if it “points to changes that should be considered in the UCMJ, or in the military services’ implementation of the UCMJ and, if so, what changes should be made.” Additionally, senators have demanded that leeway for commanders in sexual assault cases under the UCMJ be removed. Legislation is also expected to be introduced to the House of Representatives that would remove commanders’ abilities to overturn or lessen the decisions made by judges and juries at courts martial.

However, members of the military have stated that the powers of convening authorities are meant to serve as a defendant’s right and a check to the jury system. Authorities have also said that the provision serves justice and balances both defense and prosecution to achieve a fair system.

If you or a loved one has been charged with military crimes, there is no time for delay and skilled representation should be found as soon as possible. Long Beach military crime defense attorney Joseph H. Low IV is dedicated to protecting the rights of defendants against devastating charges that could affect the rest of their lives. Call The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV at (888) 454-5569 to learn more about how we can assist you today.

Posted in: Military Defense

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