For Immediate Release
January 8, 2014
DC – Bill Silverfarb (202) 225-3531 / (202) 957-4340 cell
CA – Katrina Rill (650) 342-0300 / (650) 208-7441 cell
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congresswoman Jackie Speier, (D-San Francisco/San Mateo/Redwood City) issued the following statement today on the retirement of Air Force Lt. General Craig Franklin. Franklin overturned Lt. Col. James Wilkerson’s sexual assault conviction, nullifying his prison sentence and allowing him to return to serve in the Air Force. Franklin also declined to prosecute another alleged sexual assault, it was disclosed last month.
“General Franklin became the symbol for what is wrong with the military justice system when he set a predator free after a jury voted 5-0 to convict him. What was shocking to the public and many in Congress was that Franklin was actually empowered to overturn a conviction, which the President of the United States could not override. Franklin, with no legal training, was authorized [and expected] to exercise his complete discretion and come up with any decision no matter what the reasoning, bias, or what a jury had determined. I take some solace in the fact that we have successfully reformed the military justice system to strip commanders of this authority and that General Franklin has recognized that his credibility as a convening authority was irreparably harmed. We must remain focused on the systemic problems, conflicts of interest, and culture that continue to pervade in our military.”
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is proud to represent California’s 14th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties. She is a senior member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the House Armed Services Committee (HASC). In her role on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the Congresswoman is a ranking member on the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care, and Entitlements and serves on the Subcommittee on National Security. She serves on the Readiness Subcommittee and the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on HASC and is a member of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Congresswoman Speier was appointed to serve as a Senior Whip for the Democratic caucus in the 113th Congress.