The New York Times makes the case that President Obama’s recent remarks regarding military sexual assault cases will alter the outcome of those trials by causing “unlawful command influence”;
“Unlawful command influence” refers to actions of commanders that could be interpreted by jurors as an attempt to influence a court-martial, in effect ordering a specific outcome. Mr. Obama, as commander in chief of the armed forces, is considered the most powerful person to wield such influence.
The president’s remarks might have seemed innocuous to civilians, but military law experts say defense lawyers will seize on the president’s call for an automatic dishonorable discharge, the most severe discharge available in a court-martial, arguing that his words will affect their cases.
“His remarks were more specific than I’ve ever heard a commander in chief get,” said Thomas J. Romig, a former judge advocate general of the Army and the dean of the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan. “When the commander in chief says they will be dishonorably discharged, that’s a pretty specific message. Every military defense counsel will make a motion about this.”
And of course, civilians won’t understand the military culture and therefore, demonize the whole process when someone gets to walk free because this President doesn’t understand the military culture. And we’ll have Congress trying to alter the UCMJ because they don’t understand.
Thanks to Chief Tango for the link.