How Obama Inadvertently Helped Military Sex Abusers
His words as commander in chief damning them will complicate trials: NY Times
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jul 14, 2013 8:10 AM CDT
President Obama answers questions at a White House news conference.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

(Newser) – He meant well. Back in May, President Obama said he had no more patience with the rising number of sexual assault cases in the military, and he declared that perpetrators should be “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged." The problem, as the New York Times explains, is that Obama also happens to be commander in chief, and his words have given defense attorneys a potential way to get their clients off the hook.

In a dozen assault cases so far, defense lawyers or judges have declared that Obama's words amount to "unlawful command influence"—essentially, that he, as commander, is ordering the specific outcome of a court-martial and is thus tainting the outcome. The White House says that's ridiculous, that Obama wasn't "trying to be prescriptive." But “when the commander in chief says they will be dishonorably discharged, that’s a pretty specific message," says a legal expert. "Every military defense counsel will make a motion about this.” Whether that results in scores of cases being dismissed remains unclear—other experts quoted say that's a long shot—but it will at the very least complicate almost every such trial in the near future, says the Times.

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Showing 3 of 69 comments
realtruth
Jul 15, 2013 8:18 AM CDT
Proves he really has no clue what his job really is..
right2dave
Jul 15, 2013 6:47 AM CDT
As usual Obama doesn't know when to shut his trap.
THZebra
Jul 14, 2013 4:07 PM CDT
And this guy's a LAWYER? As president he sticks his foot in his mouth intruding on situations repeatedly where he has no business (ie: "The police acted stupidly" and "If I had a boy he would look just like Treyvon" and now this). Obviously he's a lousy lawyer and he stinks at the job of president.