Extensive interviews and a McClatchy review of thousands of pages of court documents and internal studies find a congressionally caused crisis of military justice that few civilians know anything about.
The rewritten sexual assault law puts judges “in an impossible position,” the top military appellate court warned. Military lawyers find it “cumbersome and confusing,” a Pentagon task force noted. It leads to “unwarranted acquittals,” Defense Department officials added. And some judges call it unconstitutional.
“The law is an abomination as it is now written,” said Charles Gittins, a former military judge advocate who’s now a defense attorney.
Individual military judges likewise assail the new law. One, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Raymond Beal II, called it “horribly flawed.” Another, J.A. Maksym of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, blasted it as “poorly written, confusing and arguably absurd.” Yet another, Air Force Col. Don Christensen, called it “almost incomprehensible.”