Recently, ProPublica published an article about sexual assault investigations and prosecutions--or lack of prosecution.
Vianna Davila, Lexi Churchill and Ren Larson, ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, and Davis Winkie, Military Times, The Army Increasingly Allows Soldiers Charged With Violent Crimes to Leave the Military Rather Than Face Trial. Pro Publica, 10 April 2023.
Today, we are receiving news from Task & Purpose about the decline in prosecutions. Jeff Shogol, Pentagon reports huge drop in troops court-martialed for sexual assault over last 10 years. Task & Purpose, 27 April 2023. I was struck by this comment:
A major reason for the drop in courts-martial is that sexual assault survivors have shown they prefer other ways to adjudicate their cases, said Nate Galbreath, acting director of the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office.
One option for off-base offenses (or those with shared local and federal jurisdiction over the base) is for the local prosecutor to have the case for disposition. Or if on a base with exclusive federal jurisdiction, could not the USA prosecute?
See, e.g., Chap 10, AFI 51-201.
That matches up pretty consistently with the hundreds of cases I've seen. I'm always a bit frustrated by the unrealistic view many of the advocates and commentators take--that there are slews of great court-martial cases that the branches would win, except they're too soft or afraid to litigate, and they hand out ADSEPs as the easy out.
Could it be that SA prosecutions are down because there are less SAs occurring?
Anecdotally, granted (but the sample size is pretty large), SVC/VLC input has absolutely increased the number of separations in lieu (Chapter 10 - Army, Chapter 6 - Air Force, RILO - Department of the Navy).
Wasn't svc interest the big issue when their role in a court martial was being carved out? I remember kind of eye-rolling at the time. But if they have the ability to determine if a trial happens, maybe not.
There are no solutions, only trade-offs. (Thomas Sowell, I believe).
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Disclaimer: Posts are the authors' personal opinions and do not reflect the position of any organization or government agency.
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