Sunday, February 2, 2014

Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel subcommittee issues initial assessment on role of commanders

Judge (ret) Barbara S. Jones
 The Role of the Commander Subcommittee of the Response Systems to Adult Sexual Assault Crimes Panel has released its January 29, 2014 initial assessment of whether senior commanders should retain their authority to refer cases of sexual assault to courts-martial. The panel is chaired by Zuckerman Spaeder LLP partner and retired federal district judge Barbara S. Jones. The subcommittee reported that it did not "find clear evidence of what consequences, positive or negative, would result from substantially changing the UCMJ's convening authority framework." It therefore "believes caution is warranted, and systemic change may not be advisable if recent and current efforts produce meaningful improvements."
Professor Elizabeth L. Hillman

Professor Elizabeth L. Hillman, Hastings College of the Law Provost and Academic Dean, dissented and wrote separately: "I believe we should vest discretionary authority to prosecute rape and sexual assault in the same people on whom federal, state, and many respected military criminal justice systems rely: trained, experienced prosecutors."

Commonwealth's Attorney
(ret) Harvey Bryant
According to the Marine Corps Times, "[a] straw poll of full committee members found that in addition to Hillman, retired Virginia Beach, Va., Commonwealth’s Attorney Harvey Bryant also does not support the subcommittee’s recommendations."

Are you persuaded one way or the other? What do you think?

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