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Astronautís Nomination Yanked Over Sex Assault Case
DOD Buzz ^

Posted on 03/09/2014 4:02:45 AM PDT by ClaytonP

The promotion of an astronaut considered a role model for women in the military has been scrapped in a career-ending move over her action in overruling a conviction in a sexual assault case.

Air Force officials would not confirm that President Obama had withdrawn the nomination of Lt. Gen. Susan Helms to be vice commander of the Air Force’ Space Command, but the officials said that “she has put in for retirement.”

The nomination of Helms, who flew on five space shuttle missions and jointly holds the record for the longest space walk, had been put on “permanent hold” by Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who cited Helms’ action as commander of the 14th Air Force in overturning the sex assault conviction of a captain at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., in February 2012.

In a statement to the Congressional Record in June, McCaskill said that “With her action, Lt. Gen. Helms sent a damaging message to survivors of sexual assault who are seeking justice in the military justice system.”

McCaskill charged that Helms had sent the message to survivors that “they can experience a momentary sense of justice in knowing that they were believed when their attacker is convicted and sentenced, only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

The case in question involved Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was acquitted of assaulting a female technical sergeant but convicted of assaulting a female first lieutenant. There was no physical evidence in either case.

In a statement to the Air Force Times in March, Lt. Col. Kathleen Cook, a spokeswoman for the Space Command, said that Helms had reviewed the Herrera case for five weeks and “concluded that she could not be satisfied (that) the beyond-a-reasonable-doubt burden of proof had been met and therefore declined to approve the conviction.”

Helms’ defenders have also pointed out that she issued non-judicial punishment to Herrera under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that ultimately led to Herrera’s resignation from the Air Force.

The Helms nomination has become a flash point in the ongoing debate in Congress on whether sexual assault cases in the military should be taken out of the chain of command.

A vote could come as early as next week on legislation proposed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., that would strip commanders of their current authority to refer cases to courts-martial and overrule verdicts. Under Gillibrand’s proposal, the authority would go to independent lawyers from the Judge Advocate General’s corps.

Helms, 55, spent a total of 211 days in space, including five months aboard the International Space Station. While on the Space Stationin 2001, she and astronaut Jim Voss conducted the longest space walk – eight hours and 56 minutes.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 03/09/2014 4:02:45 AM PDT by ClaytonP
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To: ClaytonP

so this brave woman stood up for her beliefs in justice and had her career rear ended by “ All men are guilty of rape” females.
The war on strong women took another woman.


2 posted on 03/09/2014 4:11:16 AM PDT by Yorlik803 ( Church/Caboose in 2016)
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To: Yorlik803

If commanding officers are removed from the process, who or what organization will oversee these cases . . . the NAGS?


3 posted on 03/09/2014 4:15:05 AM PDT by Jacquerie (A senate of the states will not seat judges hostile to the tenth amendment. Article V.)
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To: Jacquerie

All female against male rape cases will be tried by NOW and the male accused will be given a chance to shoot himself before the tribunal does it for him.


4 posted on 03/09/2014 4:17:33 AM PDT by Yorlik803 ( Church/Caboose in 2016)
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To: Yorlik803
No, by flat chested mutts with lousy short hair, insanely lealous of a passable beauty (not guilty) and red hair that is too curly to die for.


5 posted on 03/09/2014 4:18:03 AM PDT by knarf (I say things that are true .. I have no proof .. but they're true.)
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To: ClaytonP
There was no physical evidence in either case.

So Helms did the right thing despite the political pressure and is being punished for it by a pandering Rat Senator trying to save her job?

No wonder our military is wrecked.

6 posted on 03/09/2014 4:19:05 AM PDT by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: ClaytonP

A two-fer the Communists Islamic-terroristophile Obama.

More ruin for NASA AND more empowerment of the insane.


7 posted on 03/09/2014 4:26:26 AM PDT by Diogenesis
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To: ClaytonP

There is something terribly wrong with our justice system when one person can arbitrarily overturn the verdict of a sitting judge and jury. On the other hand, there is something terribly wrong when a jury will convict a person without any evidence.


8 posted on 03/09/2014 4:27:47 AM PDT by HarleyD ("... letters are weighty, but his .. presence is weak, and his speech of no account.")
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To: ClaytonP

At least this woman can sleep at night knowing she did the right thing and made a decision based upon facts, not whether or not it was politically correct. She also knew that her decision would probably end her career but made it anyway.


9 posted on 03/09/2014 4:35:43 AM PDT by vetvetdoug
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To: ClaytonP

From 2012 to 2013, there was a 43% increase in reported sexual assaults. One reason why is that the DoD launched an all out push to lobby women in the service to report sexual assault. There was no such effort launched at men who are victims of same sex assault, which is on the increase and estimated to be vastly UNREPORTED due to the shame and stigma. Moreover, a massive amount of money was spent to hire “Sexual Assault Prevention Workers” who traveled all over the country, forced military members and DoD civilians into mandatory briefings, and preached the gospel according to feminism. There are no statistics because all identities and numbers on the matter are closely guarded, however, I suspect that almost any service woman who faced charges for adultery, fraternization, or any other UCMJ charge where a sexual relationship was at least part of the equation were coached to cry rape. Not only did that absolve them of their own complicity in any wrongdoing, but it simultaneously allowed an agenda driven feminist wrecking ball to further emasculate the US military and ruin lives in the process.


10 posted on 03/09/2014 4:49:18 AM PDT by SkyPilot
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To: ClaytonP

with that line of thinking why have courts of appeal in the justice system?


11 posted on 03/09/2014 4:54:04 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
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To: ClaytonP
What do you want to achieve by conducting criminal tribunals?

If we are in the civilian as opposed to the military sphere we have a set of values which elevates a sense of decency over truth finding. For example, in a criminal case someone interested only in finding the truth would water board all of the witnesses and victims and compare it with objective data to find whodunit. But we do not do that because we would rather have guilty people go free than conduct criminal procedure in this manner.

More realistically in today's world, we routinely let guilty defendants go free because they were prosecuted, or attempted to be prosecuted, with evidence acquired in violation of the Bill of Rights. By definition, these people, or virtually all of them, are guilty because they were caught with the goods but we are as a society willing to turn criminals, often violent criminals, loose among us to protect our sense of decency.

But we are not talking here in the civilian sphere but in the military sphere and a different set of considerations apply. We conduct civilian trials to preserve and enhance a civil society but we maintain a military to protect that society against very uncivil external threats. In an ultimate case, we are not just talking about protecting convenience or a desirable way of life we are talking about protecting life itself and the existence of the society itself. To gain this protection we create a military and charge it with engaging in a very bloody and very brutal business, making war.

In this context the rights of the criminally accused must be weighed against a different standard, the survival of the nation, casualties which are likely to be sustained, the effectiveness of command-and-control. These are existential matters. Military commanders by the nature of their jobs must either compel or encourage subordinates to take life and risk their own lives. There can be no second-guessing because insubordination is disruptive of command-and-control that leads to defeat and the potential destruction of the nation.

In other words, we should tolerate a different and less rigorous standard of due process in the military than we do in the civilian criminal justice.

Yet, we as a nation cannot tolerate a renegade military establishment, there must be civilian control. That civilian control in this context should be limited to defining the enemy and promoting or removing commanders based on performance.

The civilian control of the military should not extend to converting The Military into a Skinner Box for the amusement of leftists who find the military a ready-made machine for their top down social engineering. Leftist civilians in America have now trespassed into this forbidden sphere. The United States military is not a place to experiment with the flavor of the year concerning homosexuals, or women's rights, or affirmative action etc.

On the other hand, it might be instructive if these leftist officials were themselves waterboarded but I submit that few of us on this forum would be surprised at what we hear.


12 posted on 03/09/2014 4:57:31 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: ClaytonP
"...only to have that justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

WOW - now ain't that a case of the pot calling the kettle black? When Obama or Holder intervene to change the law or rulings, libs are giddy with joy.

13 posted on 03/09/2014 5:00:02 AM PDT by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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also, when one of their lib judges reverses the will of the voters!
14 posted on 03/09/2014 5:00:50 AM PDT by Baynative (Got bulbs? Check my profile page.)
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To: ClaytonP
Per Claire McCaskill, I suppose because of this reasoning, we should eliminate all appeals courts and the Supreme Court.:

"justice ripped away with the stroke of a pen by an individual who was never in the courtroom for the trial and who never heard the testimony.”

15 posted on 03/09/2014 5:26:13 AM PDT by PghBaldy (12/14 - 930am -rampage begins... 12/15 - 1030am - Obama's advance team scouts photo-op locations.)
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To: Timber Rattler

So she is saying a fellow member of the officer corps lied?


16 posted on 03/09/2014 5:28:59 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: vetvetdoug

The convening authority made a decision on the facts, the JAG who prosecuted made a decision on the facts, the jury of military members made a decision on the facts, the approving authority should have a checklist, make sure all was done according to the UCMJ and approve or disapprove based on that. So, we don’t really know enough here, what was her rationale in not approving the conviction? Was it with or contrary to the advice of her JAG adviser?


17 posted on 03/09/2014 5:32:35 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: nathanbedford
...Skinner Box for the amusement of leftists who find the military a ready-made machine for their top down social engineering.

That's what the educational system is for. After all, what harm could come from treating our children like lab rats.

Seriously, colleges of education teach the Skinnerian model. I can think of little more demeaning to human nature than deliberately treating childre like animals.

18 posted on 03/09/2014 5:34:37 AM PDT by Aevery_Freeman (Historians will refer to this administration as "The Half-Black Plague.")
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To: Aevery_Freeman
… Or treating our service men and women like children.


19 posted on 03/09/2014 5:45:07 AM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: ClaytonP

This is all part of the leftist plan to destroy the military that they hate because of its natural conservative tendencies. Obama has done great harm to the military already. He three more years to continue his harmful actions against the military.


20 posted on 03/09/2014 5:46:03 AM PDT by 3Fingas (Sons and Daughters for Freedom and Rededication to the Principles of the U.S. Constitution)
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To: ClaytonP

It’s so tiresome to read about a “survivor of a sexual assault.” Unless the woman in question was physically assaulted by an attacker who intended to kill her, she was not a “survivor”; a “victim,” yes, most definitely, but not a “survivor.” I’m assuming that being raped does not carry with it the danger of death.

Words have meaning. This term is definitely misused.


21 posted on 03/09/2014 5:47:28 AM PDT by OldPossum ("It's" is the contraction of "it" and "is"; think about ITS implications.)
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To: ClaytonP

I didn’t even realize we still had a manned space program.


22 posted on 03/09/2014 5:49:00 AM PDT by Sirius Lee (All that is required for evil to advance is for government to do "something")
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To: HarleyD
There is something terribly wrong with our justice system when one person can arbitrarily overturn the verdict of a sitting judge and jury. On the other hand, there is something terribly wrong when a jury will convict a person without any evidence.

This isn't "our" (civil) justice system, it was tried under the military justice system...a way different ball of wax...

Did the thought occur to you that his charges were overturned because there was no evidence ?

Even the military justice system operates under the concept of innocent until proven guilty...

23 posted on 03/09/2014 6:03:09 AM PDT by Popman ("Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God" - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: yldstrk

Officers lie all the time. Pretending they don’t is naive at best.


24 posted on 03/09/2014 6:22:33 AM PDT by Anoreth (It is not moth eaten. It is superb.)
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To: ClaytonP

Stalin as role model. Check.
Political purge. Check.
Military personnel treated as servants. Check.
Military effectiveness destroyed. Second Nobel Peace?


25 posted on 03/09/2014 6:32:07 AM PDT by Chewbarkah
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To: Chewbarkah

...Prize


26 posted on 03/09/2014 6:32:40 AM PDT by Chewbarkah
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To: ClaytonP

The Convening Authority may examine the record of trial, to including findings of facts and overturn convictions based upon that review. It is a protection built into the military justice system. It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does I suspect that something just didn’t smell quite right.

Contrast this with the civilian justice system where prosecutors and judges come from and are part of the political system. They produce political results and if they don’t they are weeded out or relegated to night traffic court. Much of the abuse of our justice system is political abuse.

This is where the military justice system is headed and it will destroy the military.


27 posted on 03/09/2014 6:35:13 AM PDT by centurion316
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To: centurion316

Exactly right.


28 posted on 03/09/2014 6:37:20 AM PDT by TADSLOS (The Event Horizon has come and gone. Buckle up and hang on.)
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To: yldstrk

Almost certainly with. Under McCaskill’s plan, preferral of charges would go to a new directorate within Air Force Legal Ops Agency (my unit), and we all think it’s a horrible, misguided idea.


29 posted on 03/09/2014 6:38:03 AM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: jagusafr

Believe me, as a former Missourian, McCaskill is no genius.


30 posted on 03/09/2014 6:40:31 AM PDT by yldstrk ( My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: ClaytonP

How horribly, yet deliciously, ironic that an eminently qualified woman would have her 4th star denied because she “failed the sisterhood” by doing what her conscience required.


31 posted on 03/09/2014 6:42:15 AM PDT by jagusafr (the American Trinity (Liberty, In G0D We Trust, E Pluribus Unum))
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To: ClaytonP

Oh no, not General Helms! Now I know for certain that the purge is deliberate.


32 posted on 03/09/2014 7:00:16 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Screw the farmers. I can get everything I need at the grocery store.)
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To: knarf

You are dead wrong on that one.


33 posted on 03/09/2014 7:01:41 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Screw the farmers. I can get everything I need at the grocery store.)
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To: HarleyD
"There is something terribly wrong with our justice system when one person can arbitrarily overturn the verdict of a sitting judge and jury."

It's the UCMJ and it works. Commanders are legally, professionally, ethically, financially and morally responsible for EVERYTHING that happens under their command. They need to be empowered to exercise that responsibility. If you don't like it, don't join the military.

34 posted on 03/09/2014 7:07:51 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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To: Joe 6-pack; Popman
Commanders are legally, professionally, ethically, financially and morally responsible for EVERYTHING that happens under their command.

As long as commanders (and others) are professional, ethical, and moral, then you both are correct. However, I can point you both to our attorney General as a shining example of how this is not always the case. It isn't any different in the military. And if you want to look at the jury side, one only has to look at the OJ Simpson trial as a example of how no matter how much evidence one presents, juries will not convict.

A person could say these are anomalies in life. I actually think what we're witnessing is a breakdown in our justice system where laws are applied randomly and discriminatively.

35 posted on 03/09/2014 10:40:42 AM PDT by HarleyD ("... letters are weighty, but his .. presence is weak, and his speech of no account.")
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To: HarleyD

Commanders are executives. Although it’s technically not the same thing, in a bigger sense, it’s really no different than the pardon power given a governor or president. If you accept that a commander unilaterally has the authority to punish a service member (judicially or non-judicially) you have to vest that commander, or those further up the chain of command with the authority to reconsider or undo the punishment.


36 posted on 03/09/2014 11:20:18 AM PDT by Joe 6-pack (Qui me amat, amat et canem meum.)
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