Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Should this case be tried in civilian court?

Road rage causes a member of the armed forces to back his vehicle into another vehicle. The scene of the crime: near the front gate of Ft. Wainwright, Alaska. The local prosecutor is dropping the charges so the military can prosecute. The case raises two questions:

1. Why should this case be tried in a military court rather than in civilian court? The article linked to above states:
State prosecutors dropped the charges so the military can take up the case, said [Luis] Jara’s attorney Gary Stapp. 
It’s not unusual for the Fairbanks District Attorney to dismiss charges for members of the military so they instead can be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
2. Why is it so difficult for journalists to grasp that the military could prosecute even if the state also prosecuted, and that dropping local charges is not a precondition to military prosecution?

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