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Sexual Assault Myths

Not too long ago, Mark Godsey, Director, Ohio Chapter, The Innocence Project, commented that:

[T]the risk of wrongful conviction is the highest when there’s public outcry. Most of the exonerations and wrongful convictions have occurred in rape cases.

Whether on a college campus or a military installation, myths for and against a sexual assault epidemic have fueled efforts to get convictions. These efforts have resulted in significant statutory and regulatory changes which largely reduce or limit an accused's right to a fair trial and the opportunity to present a defense. I have some thoughts on this here.

Recently, the Congress passed the NDAA with substantial changes to the UCMJ set to take effect up through 2018. The changes were submitted by DoD and came from the Military Justice Review Group recommendations. Congress held NO hearings or discussion of any worth on these substantive changes. Why debate something that's going to be enacted regardless of any outside consideration. I would note that some of the changes are in fact favorable to an accused. For example, the size of the members panel (jury) will increase, as will the number of votes required to convict.

In the meantime, I would recommend the following as Worth-the-Read.

K. C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, Jr., The Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process in America's Universities, Encounter Books, 2017. There are similarities in military sexual assault developments.

FIRE notes, "The book describes case after case of investigators failing to consider exculpatory evidence, accused students being prohibited from questioning their accusers and witnesses, and unfair proceedings being conducted with no reliable record for students’ lawyers to work with when they try to help students find justice in the courts."

Try reading the book and see how many times you can substitute "service-member" for "student."

For more W-T-R for the military, colleague Zeke Kennon notes several articles of interest over at CAAFLog.

Greg Rustico, Overcoming Overcorrection: Towards Holistic Military Sexual Assault Reform, 102 Va. L. Rev. 2027 (2016).

Heidi L. Brady, Justice is No Longer Blind: How the Effort to Eradicate Sexual Assault in the Military Unbalanced the Military Justice System, 2016 U. Ill. L. Rev. Online 193.

Facing an investigation, trial, or court-martial appeal? Contact us your military defense counsel with long and wide experience and success in military sexual assault cases.

Under investigation, facing court-martial, been convicted, contact experienced a military defense lawyer familiar with and success in defending military sexual assault allegations -- mljucmj@court-martial.com.

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