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View Diary: Delays have likely cost a vote on Gillibrand military sexual assault amendment (32 comments)

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  •  who needs Repubs, we have McCaskill (5+ / 0-)

    she was undermining Gillibrand from the beginning with her alternative, which doesn't remove these cases from the commanders.
    This issue has been important to me because I have a daughter who is still in the Navy, but it's hard to get mad at Repubs on this when folks like McCaskill seem so intent on preventing real reform.  She's like Feinstein on the NSA spying issue, defends the status quo, makes excuses for defending it, puts out some lame-ass alternative to real reform.  

    •  Sen McCaskill seems pretty serious (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radhika

      An Air Force general has run afoul of Congress for granting clemency to a convicted sex offender without any public explanation, the latest case to raise fundamental questions about how the military justice system handles sex crimes.

      The case is the second this year in which a three-star Air Force general has raised lawmakers’ hackles by effectively pardoning an officer found guilty of sexual assault, a crime many experts see as a growing problem in the military.

      This time the general is a former astronaut....

      Lt. Gen. Helms was nominated to become vice commander of the Air Force’s Space Command.

      But the nomination has been blocked by Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), a member of the Armed Services Committee, who wants to examine Helms’s previously unpublicized decision to overturn the conviction, on charges of aggravated sexual assault, of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

      Helms’s action mirrors another case that has drawn angry attention from Congress and prompted legislators to propose landmark changes in military law. In that instance, victims’ advocates called for the firing of Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, after he tossed out the sexual-assault conviction of a star fighter pilot in February.

      In both cases, the generals ignored the recommendations of their legal advisers and overruled a jury’s findings — without publicly revealing why. Neither general was a judge and neither observed the trials, but they intervened to grant clemency before the convictions could be heard by an appeals court.

      Helms explained in an internal memo that surfaced only recently that after reviewing the evidence the captain’s testimony more credible.

      Drew Pusateri, a spokesman for McCaskill, said the senator is blocking Helms’s nomination until she receives more information about the general’s decision.

      “As the senator works to change the military justice system to better protect survivors of sexual assault and hold perpetrators accountable, she wants to ensure that cases in which commanders overturned jury verdicts . . . are given the appropriate scrutiny,” Pusateri said.

      It is well that war is so terrible -- lest we should grow too fond of it. Robert E. Lee

      by ksuwildkat on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 02:10:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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