The New York Times reports that the President’s comments made two months ago that those who commit sexual assault in the military should be “prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged,” have been used by defense counsel in more than a dozen pending cases to seek dismissal of charges because they allegedly constitute an “unlawful command influence.” 19337410_s

The Times says that this term “refers to actions of commanders that could be interpreted by jurors as an attempt to influence a court-martial, in effect ordering a specific outcome.”  The effect of the President’s press conference comments has been a slew of motions to dismiss made by defense counsel — “Because the president is the commander in chief, it’s going to come up in basically every imaginable context in sexual assault cases” remarked a Yale Law professor.

Although the Times reports that the White House contends that the President only “meant to demonstrate his concern about the issue and … [and did] not intend[] to recommend penalties for offenders,” nonetheless as the article details, his comments have roiled the waters for military prosecutors.

Read this article to get a good picture of both sides of this issue.