McCaskill Responds to Military Sexual Assault Hearings
During a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, Senators criticized the military's handling of sexual assault cases, and called for serious reforms of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The Senators heard testimony from sexual assault survivors and advocates, and grilled military leadership on the fairness of the current system, which gives commanders the authority to dismiss jury verdicts and overturn sentences after a courts martial.
Following the hearing, Senator McCaskill announced that she will be introducing legislation to limit the power of commanders. "Giving military commanders with no legal experience the ability to completely nullify a jury's verdict without even requiring justification is against everything that be believe about justice in this country," said Senator McCaskill, a former prosecutor.
Senator McCaskill's move after the testimony of military sexual assault survivors during the hearing comes in response to a recent case at Aviano Air Base in Italy, where a Lieutenant Colonel who was convicted of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to a year in prison had his sentence overturned by a Lieutenant General without explanation.
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has responded to the outcry over Franklin's actions by calling for a review of the UCMJ provisions that give commanders to override a court martial.
Media Resources: LA Times 3/13/2013; STL Beacon 3/13/2013; Huffington Post 3/12/2013; Feminist Newswire 3/13/2013, 3/6/2013
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .
7/24/2015 Katherine Spillar Urges Cleveland to Dramatically Increase Hiring of Women Police to Mitigate Police Violence - In a well-received speech at the City Club of Cleveland today, Katherine Spillar, Executive Director of the Feminist Majority Foundation urged Cleveland city officials to dramatically increase the hiring of women police officers as a way to decrease police brutality incidents.
Following a number of high profile police killings in Cleveland of African Americans, and an eight-month investigation by the US Attorney's office of the Northern District of Ohio, the City of Cleveland has now entered into a Consent Decree that requires numerous reforms in how the city oversees and investigates police operations, including training in use of force.
"Among the most important reforms mandated by the consent decree - and the most easily overlooked - are the changes the Cleveland Division of Police must make in its recruitment and hiring practices,
said Spillar. . . .