McCaskill Responds to Military Sexual Assault Hearings
During a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Senators criticized the military's handling of sexual assault cases, and called for serious reforms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Senators heard testimony from sexual assault survivors and advocates, and grilled military leadership on the fairness of the current system, which gives commanders the authority to dismiss jury verdicts and overturn sentences after a courts martial.
Following the hearing, Senator McCaskill announced that she will be introducing legislation to limit the power of commanders. "Giving military commanders with no legal experience the ability to completely nullify a jury's verdict without even requiring justification is against everything that be believe about justice in this country," said Senator McCaskill, a former prosecutor.
Senator McCaskill's move after the testimony of military sexual assault survivors during the hearing comes in response to a recent case at Aviano Air Base in Italy, where a Lieutenant Colonel who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to a year in prison had his sentence overturned by a Lieutenant General without explanation.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has responded to the outcry over Franklin's actions by calling for a review of the UCMJ provisions that give commanders to override a court martial.
Media Resources: LA Times 3/13/2013; STL Beacon 3/13/2013; Huffington Post 3/12/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/13/2013, 3/6/2013
3/25/2015 Afghan Woman Beaten to Death for Burning Koran - A 27-year-old woman who reportedly burned a copy of the Koran inside of a riverside shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan was brutally beaten and burned alive on Thursday.
Shocking videos quickly spread on social media showing crowds of men surrounded by hundreds of onlookers assaulting the 27-year-old Farkhunda with bricks and sticks and repeatedly kicking her. . . .
3/25/2015 Masked Intruder Attacks Last Abortion Clinic Standing in Mississippi - In the early hours of the morning Monday, a person in a mask wielding what appeared to be a machete attacked the Jackson Women's Health Organization, the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi.
The clinic revealed in a post on their website the details of the attack on what is affectionately referred to by staff and community members as The Pink House. . . .
3/17/2015 Vice President Biden Pledges 41 Million to Clear Rape Kit Backlog - Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Mikulski (D-MD) spoke yesterday at a Maryland State Police Laboratory to declare their support for a $41 million budget proposal to combat the national backlog of rape kits.
"Testing rape kits should be an absolute priority for the United States of America," Vice President Biden said, referring to the estimated 400,000 untested rape kits nationwide. . . .