Saturday, May 24, 2014

California state senate approves structural change for prosecution of National Guard sex offenses

The California state senate has unanimously approved S.B. 1422, a bill that would take the charging power away from California National Guard commanders in sexual assault cases. Instead, local civilian prosecutors would decide which cases should be prosecuted. "This process outlined in the bill is in fact how most sexual assault cases are currently handled in the [California Military D]epartment. The new legislation would codify it," according to this U.S. News & World Report article. The measure would apply only when a National Guard unit is in title 32 (unfederalized) status. "California’s Air National Guard, State Military Reserve, and Naval Militia are also components of the department and likewise would be affected by the legislation, which could create the groundwork for further change nationwide."

S.B. 1422 differs in two important respects from the approach taken in the federal legislation proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D.-NY). First, it would shift sexual assault prosecutions out of the military justice system, rather than create an independent military prosecutor with disposition power. Second, it is narrower because it applies only to sexual assault cases, rather than serious criminal charges in general.

1 comment:

  1. Christopher ChaiMay 24, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    I’m proud to be a Californian today. A step forward in the right direction!


    It would be better if the State initiated a joint special investigation and prosecution unit to deal with this issue, not the local civilian prosecutors. When sexual assault occurs in rural areas, smaller cities, and isolated towns...local prosecutors may not be the best option for the victims.


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