Obama Words on Military Sexual Assault Backfire

Obama Words on Military Sexual Assault Backfire

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James Joyner

Outside The Beltway

 

President Obama is rightly outraged by a wave of sexual assaults in the military. He unwittingly made them harder to prosecute.

A month ago, Doug Mataconis wrote about a military judge ruling that Obama’s declaration that those who commit sexual assault should be dishonorably discharged amounted to undue command influence. A wave of similar rulings has ensued.

NYT (“Obama Words Complicating Military Trials“):

When President Obama proclaimed that those who commit sexual assault in the military should be “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,” it had an effect he did not intend: muddying legal cases across the country.

In at least a dozen sexual assault cases since the president’s remarks at the White House in May, judges and defense lawyers have said that Mr. Obama’s words as commander in chief amounted to “unlawful command influence,” tainting trials as a result. Military law experts said that those cases were only the beginning and that the president’s remarks were certain to complicate almost all prosecutions for sexual assault. […]

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