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 â€śin an impossible position,â€ť the top military appellate court warned. Military lawyers find it â€ścumbersome and confusing,â€ť a Pentagon task force noted. It leads to â€śunwarranted acquittals,â€ť Defense Department officials added. And some judges call it unconstitutional.
â€śThe law is an abomination as it is now written,â€ť said Charles Gittins, a former military judge advocate whoâ€™s now a defense attorney.
Individual military judges likewise assail the new law. One, Marine Corps Lt. Col. Raymond Beal II, called it â€śhorribly flawed.â€ť Another, J.A. Maksym of the U.S. Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, blasted it as â€śpoorly written, confusing and arguably absurd.â€ť Yet another, Air Force Col. Don Christensen, called it â€śalmost incomprehensible.â€ť