In its May 22 ruling, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals said Commandant Gen. James Amos’ push against sexual assault was unlawful command influence. The court set aside the 19-year sentence at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., that was handed down in October 2012 to Staff Sgt. Stephen P. Howell. He was convicted in a military court trial at Parris Island, S.C., of rape, forcible sodomy, adultery and other charges involving a Lexington, Ky., woman.
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UCMJ: 837. ART. 37. UNLAWFULLY INFLUENCING ACTION OF COURT
(a) No authority convening a general, special, or summary court-martial, nor any other commanding officer, may censure, reprimand, or admonish the court or any member, military judge, or counsel thereof, with respect to the findings or sentence adjudged by the court, or with respect to any other exercises of its or his functions in the conduct of the proceedings. No person subject to this chapter may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts. The foregoing provisions of the subsection shall not apply with respect to (1) general instructional or informational courses in military justice if such courses are designed solely for the purpose of instructing members of a command in the substantive and procedural aspects of courts-martial, or (2) to statements and instructions given in open court by the military judge, president of a special court-martial, or counsel.
(b) In the preparation of an effectiveness, fitness, or efficiency report on any other report or document used in whole or in part for the purpose of determining whether a member of the armed forces is qualified to be advanced, in grade, or in determining the assignment or transfer of a member of the armed forces or in determining whether a member of the armed forces should be retained on active duty, no person subject to this chapter may, in preparing any such report (1) consider or evaluate the performance of duty of any such member, as counsel, represented any accused before a court-martial.