Obama recently was quoted as saying, sexual offenders should be "prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorable discharged." The remarks have already damaged prosecutors in a dozen trials and likely will inflict grave consequences on many cases to come according to the New York Times reports.
Thomas J. Romig, a former Army judge advocate general and dean of the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Ks. Said, "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. His remarks were more specific than I've ever heard a commander in chief get."
"Unlawful command influence" occurs when a military commander, or commander in chief in Obama's case, orders a specific outcome to a court-martial.
The president’s remarks have directly affected cases such as the ongoing court-martial for sexual assault against an Army officer. The charges were dismissed by a judge at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina last month, and at Fort Bragg in North Carolina defense lawyers quoted the president in a motion to dismiss.
A Pentagon survey that estimated 26,000 sexual assaults occurred last year.
White House counsel Kathryn Ruemmler said in defense of the president, "The president was absolutely not trying to be prescriptive. He was listing a range of examples of how offenders could be held accountable. The president expects all military personnel who are involved in any way in the military justice process to exercise their independent professional judgment."
The big question is why in the world President Obama is involved at all with military courts and their sworn duties.
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