A matter that has been described as “a slap heard all around the world of military law” has called into question the appointment of a civilian judge to a military courts-martial appeals tribunal. Commentators say that the appointment could also affect dozens of cases in which that judge participated and ruled.
Military law seeks justice for both alleged victims of crimes and those accused of committing them. The foundations of such law are centuries old, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) established by Congress that has been operative for many decades renders the application of justice consistent across all military branches.
In enacting the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014, Congress has now provided for alleged victims of sexual assaults to have distinct legal rights.
Allegations of sexual assault at the nation’s military academies have put those institutions under a strong spotlight in recent years, with numerous media articles chronicling policies and outcomes that have been widely criticized in many instances.
It would be sheer understatement to say that Marine Corps Maj. Jason Brezler's recent administrative discharge hearing commanded comparatively heavy attention.
As the new year dawns, it is more than appropriate to review Congress' latest tinkering with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The latest changes to the UCMJ will create a new landscape for those facing the most serious offenses. The Article 32 hearing, long analogized to a grand jury, but with attendant rights given to an accused, will be dramatically different especially for crimes related to sexual assault.