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  •  Yes, Eddie Slovik. In 1945. (0+ / 0-)

    Did you happen to read this part of the Wikipedia page?

    ...of the 2864 Army personnel tried for desertion for the period January 1942 through June 1948, 49 were convicted and sentenced to death, and 48 of those sentences were voided by higher authority.
    So, in 48 of those 49 cases, convening authorities used the EXACT SAME AUTHORITY we're talking about today to overturn death sentences from courts martial.

    Thanks for proving my point.  It's an imperfect system, to be sure, but it would be a grievous error to throw away this check-and-balance in a cavalier fashion.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 01:10:45 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  however, the Slovik family may disagree with (0+ / 0-)

      you as to how well the system works

      •  Yes, a perfectly snarky reply... (0+ / 0-)

        ...but hardly constructive to the discussion.

        No, the system is not perfect.  NO system is perfect.  There's a reason that the military operates under a separate judicial system, and the bulk of that system's history shows that it works reasonably well.

        It's actually a telling point that one has to go back to 1945 to find a worst-case scenario - a life-or-death abuse of the court martial process.  If you ask me, that's far better than what the civilian judicial system has managed to do in that same period (hello, Innocence Project?).

        I stand with you in calling for corrective action in these recent cases; as a veteran with some limited (battalion- and division-level) experience in military justice matters, I have no problem calling out problems and abuses as they occur.

        However, it's extremely important that we not overreach.  Remember that the same authority that is properly criticized in these cases was also use to spare those 48 WWII deserters the death penalty.  Realize that privates and corporals who were unjustly convicted by courts martial benefit from the authority in question just as often--if not more often--than we see it abused.  It's often the case that abuses garner far more attention than do smooth, proper exercises of command authority.

        It's often hackneyed and trite, but - we can't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

        The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

        by wesmorgan1 on Wed May 15, 2013 at 06:54:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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