Monday, March 4, 2013

Should This Air Force Pilot's Sex Assault Conviction Been Overturned?

Lt. Col. James Wilkerson speaks as the then 20th Fighter Wing chief of safety at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 11, 2008. Henry Hoegen/U.S. Air Force

Air Force Pilot's Sex Assault Dismissal Sparks Cries For Reform -- Stars and Stripes

An Air Force general’s decision to overturn a jury’s guilty verdict and reinstate a fighter pilot convicted of sexual assault could prove to be a lightning rod in efforts to legislatively strip commanders of their long-held authority in sexual assault cases, victims’ advocates say.

Third Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin’s decision to reinstate Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was a stunning example of structural problems in an outdated military justice system rife with bias that discounts victims while emboldening offenders, advocates said.

“It’s really shocking,” Susan Burke, a lawyer who represents numerous military women in lawsuits against the Defense Department, said of the case.

Read more ....

My Comment: An all male jury convicted him .... but the commander overruled it anyway. If the jury was split .... I understand .... but this .... this I do not understand. Expect a lot of blow-back and calls for reform from this decision.

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