Military Justice Improvement Act

The Alternative To The Military Justice Improvement Act

Levin-McCaskill:

When a Staff Judge Advocate recommends that a sexual offense case be referred to court martial and the commanding officer disagrees, the Service Secretary shall review the case. OR

When the Staff Judge Advocate recommends that a case NOT be referred to court-martial and the commanding officer agrees, the case shall be reviewed by a superior commanding officer in the chain of command.

Provisions Already Included in Defense Bill:

The list of changes below are provisions already in the underlying bill and would not be removed by the Gillibrand amendment or Levin-McCaskill alternative. Both supporters and opponents of the Military Justice Improvement Act agree on these provisions.

As Subcommittee Chairman for Personnel, Senator Gillibrand included or approved all of the changes.

Strong protections for victims

• Requires provision of special victim’s counsel to provide legal assistance and advice to service members who are victims of a sexual assault by a fellow service member

• Requires commanders to immediately refer sexual assault allegations to criminal investigators

• Calls for commanders to be held accountable for maintaining a command climate in which victims can report sexual assault without fear of retaliation.

• Ensures rapid access to a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator for members of the National Guard or Reserves

Military justice reforms

• Limits authority of commanders to modify court martial findings in sexual assault cases

• For the first time, makes retaliation against a victim who reports a sexual assault a crime under the UCMJ

• Eliminates the five-year statute of limitations on trial by court martial in sexual assault cases

• Eliminates the element of the character of the accused from the factors a commander should consider in deciding how to dispose of an offense.