Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-09-13

Hagel Calls for End to Overturning Convening Authority

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has called for termination of the ability of a commanding officer to overturn a court martial conviction, called "convening authority."

In an internal memo to the secretaries of the military services and other military senior officials, Hagel said, "We must ensure that our military justice system is fair, provides justice, and enhances good order and discipline. The actions directed by this memorandum seek to improve military justice and our ability to accomplish our mission."

In a public statement released by the Department of Defense, Hagel listed sexual assault in the military as a top priority and asked Congress to take the steps to reform the power of convening authority. He asked Congress to create change by "First, eliminating the discretion for a convening authority to change the findings of a court-martial, except for certain minor offenses that would not ordinarily warrant trial by court-martial. While convening authorities would no longer have the ability to dismiss charges for serious offenses like sexual assault, defendants would continue to have access to a robust system of appeal rights. Second, requiring the convening authority to explain in writing any changes made to court-martial sentences, as well as any changes to findings involving minor offenses. The intent is to ensure that convening authorities are required to justify - in an open, transparent, and recorded manner - any decision to modify a court martial sentence."

He continued "Despite the attention and efforts of senior leaders throughout the Department of Defense, it is clear the department still has much more work to do to fully address the problem of sexual assault in the ranks. This crime is damaging this institution. There are thousands of victims in the department, male and female, whose lives and careers have been upended, and that is unacceptable. The current situation should offend every single service member and civilian who, like me, is proud of their association with the United States military."

The issue gained national attention in March, when a Lieutenant General overturned a sexual assault conviction by jury of an air force service member. The Air Force fighter pilot was convicted in November for aggravated sexual assault by a jury of four colonels and a lieutenant colonel. He was dismissed from the Air Force and sentenced to one year in prison. Lieutenant General Craig Franklin overturned the jury conviction using "convening authority" - an absolute power of a single military supervisor to dismiss a jury decision as granted by Article 60 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

Media Resources: Department of Defense 4/8/2013; Huffington Post 4/8/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/6/2013


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

6/30/2015 Community Members, Advocates, and Celebrities Stand in Support with Bree Newsome - On June 27, at about 6:30 AM, Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole at South Carolina's Statehouse and removed the confederate flag. . . .
 
6/30/2015 Supreme Court Ruling Prevents Gerrymandering in Arizona - In a 5-4 decision delivered by Justice Ginsburg this morning, the Supreme Court upheld Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, allowing the use of independent state commissions that draw federal congressional districts, taking that power away from the state legislature. This gives states an opportunity to deal with partisan gerrymandering by giving an independent commission power to draw federal congressional districts. In 2000, Arizona voters amended their constitution, shifting the responsibility of drawing congressional districts, previously held by the state legislature, to a panel called the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. . . .
 
6/29/2015 The Supreme Court Just Saved Texas Abortion Clinics - The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 today to put a temporary hold on a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that would have closed all but 9 of the state's abortion clinics in Texas. The order from the Supreme Court comes in response to an emergency request filed by women's health care providers on the behalf of Texas women earlier this month asking the Court to stay House Bill 2, which would have taken effect as law on Wednesday. . . .