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Composition of a Court-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jan 25, 2016 | 0 Comments

In many ways, courts-martial mimic civilian trials. In other ways, they are distinctly different. Take, for example, the composition of a court-martial. Although the prosecution and defendant's counsel will be present and typically a judge will preside over the court-martial, the type of attorney...

History of Courts-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jan 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

Did you know that courts-martial in the United States predate both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence? In June 1775, the Second Continental Congress established the Articles of War to govern the Continental Army's conduct. Although these regulations were based on British militar...

What Is the Manual for Courts-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Dec 17, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is the Manual for Courts-Martial? Well, just as the Constitution dictates the supreme law of the United States and the dictionary defines the English language, the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM) is the official guide for courts-martial in the U.S. military. Unlike the Uniform Code of Milita...

Court-Martial Appeals Process

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Dec 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

A guilty verdict in a court-martial does not always seal your fate. Sometimes the conviction is unwarranted. For example, perhaps the military judge made a mistake or there wasn't enough evidence to justify a conviction. Or, perhaps the conviction was warranted, but the sentence is inappropriatel...

Member Selection in Courts-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Dec 02, 2015 | 0 Comments

In most (but not all) courts-martial, the members decide the fate of the accused. “Who are the members?” you ask? Unlike civilian courts, the military justice system does not have juries composed of jurors. Instead, there are panels composed of members. The members bear the responsibility of deci...

What Is a Convening Authority?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Nov 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is a convening authority? Well, let's start with the basics, the terms involved: Convening: (verb) coming or bringing together for a meeting or activity; assembling Authority: (noun) the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience A convening authority plays an impor...

Burden of Proof in a Court-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Nov 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

In a trial, one party must bear the burden of proof. According to Merriam-Webster, the term burden of proof is defined as “the duty of proving a disputed assertion or charge.” Like a civilian court, the burden of proof in a court-martial rests with the prosecution (i.e., the government). The accu...

What Is a General Court-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Nov 08, 2015 | 0 Comments

Serious crimes require serious trials. Although felonies don't exist in the military justice system, a general court-martial is similar in purpose and practice. The highest level of court possible for members of the U.S. military, a general court-martial is used to try those who have been accused...

Difference Between Court-Martial and Military Tribunal

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Oct 26, 2015 | 0 Comments

Courts-martial and military tribunals are both courts of justice, and they are both used by the United States military. Although they are similar in name and function, each type of court is used for a specific purpose. A court-martial, as you may already know, is simply a military court used to d...

What Is a Special Court-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Oct 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is a special court-martial, and why is it so special? At the intermediate level of the military court system, special courts-martial are used to try members of the military who have committed minor crimes, which can be likened to civilian misdemeanors. The potential punishments are not as se...

What Is a Summary Court-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Oct 06, 2015 | 0 Comments

The military court system is divided into three types, where the accused are tried based on the severity of the crime they have committed. The type of court-martial used affects the potential punishments, the process, and the rights of the accused, amongst other details. If you'd like to better u...

Is There a Jury in a Court-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Sep 28, 2015 | 0 Comments

If you're unfamiliar with courts-martial, your instinct will likely be to compare them to civilian trials. So, you might wonder if the potential punishments are similar, whether the accused has the same rights as a civilian defendant, and if a jury will be present. Today we're tackling that last ...

Legal Definition of Court-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Sep 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

When assigned an essay or a lab report, many students receive the following instruction from their professor: define your terms. The phrase comes from Voltaire, who wrote, “Define your terms, you will permit me again to say, or we shall never understand one another” (source). This worthwhile advi...

How to Appeal a Summary Court-Martial Conviction

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Sep 04, 2015 | 0 Comments

Within the military justice system, a summary court-martial is the lowest level of judicial court. Reserved for misdemeanors and minor offenses, this court is typically quite swift and low in stress. The potential punishments are slight when compared with special and general court-martials, but t...

Court-Martial Punishments

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Aug 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

Although the court-martial process is never enjoyed by the accused, it is particularly nerve-racking when you don't know what to expect. To reduce the unfamiliarity and unpredictability of the situation, you should consult with an attorney and discuss potential outcomes. The possible ramification...

Court-Martial vs. Civilian Trial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Aug 18, 2015 | 0 Comments

Most Americans know the basic rights and procedures of a civilian trial, but very few understand how a military court-martial works. In fact, many civilians aren't even aware that members of the armed forces are subject to a different justice system (a system in which a judicial court is known as...

Article 32 Hearing Procedures

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Aug 10, 2015 | 0 Comments

Despite its name, a general court-martial is not required for “all or most cases.” In fact, it's quite specialized and limited; it's only necessary when a very serious crime accusation arises within the armed forces. Due to the severity of such cases, an Article 32 hearing is used beforehand so t...

What Is a Court-Martial?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jul 30, 2015 | 0 Comments

What is a court-martial? Although most civilians have heard the term court-martial and know that it relates to the military, they don't always understand what a court-martial is or why it exists. The first thing you need to know is that the United States military has its own justice system. When ...

Military Crimes Punishable by Death

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jul 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

Only the most serious military crimes are punishable by death, and there are just over a dozen offenses that fit the bill. For the curious, the cautious, and the fearful, we've listed all of the applicable offenses below. However, although the death penalty is a possible punishment for these crim...

Crimes Unique to the Military

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jul 07, 2015 | 0 Comments

Although most crimes in the military justice system echo those in the civilian justice system, there are several crimes unique to the military. Some of these crimes would not be possible to commit outside of the military (if you don't get leave, for example, how can you be absent without leave?),...

Is a Court-Martial Conviction Considered a Felony?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jul 05, 2015 | 0 Comments

As you surely know, the military justice system and the civilian justice system are similar but ultimately quite different. For example, military courts do not label offenses in the same way that civilian courts do. Misdemeanors and felonies don't exist in court-martial proceedings, so it can be ...

Are You Guilty Until Proven Innocent in the Military?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jun 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Are you guilty until proven innocent in the military? When you joined the United States Armed Forces, you gave up certain rights to serve our country. However, you did not give up your most basic constitutional rights, including the ability to avoid cruel and unusual punishment and the right to a...

How Long Does a Court-Martial Take?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jun 16, 2015 | 0 Comments

As a rule, the military justice system is far more streamlined than the civilian system. Civilian trials can wait on the docket for years in busy jurisdictions, but military trials will almost never require such a brutal amount of waiting time. Instead, the overall timeline for a trial depends gr...

What is the Uniform Code of Military Justice?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | May 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

When military service members are accused of a crime, they use a specialized military justice system that is based on the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). What is the Uniform Code of Military Justice? It is a system that works very much like the civilian justice system, but it is complete...

How to Avoid a Dishonorable Discharge

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | May 20, 2015 | 0 Comments

A dishonorable discharge can have serious consequences from both a military and civilian perspective, including the inability to receive VA assistance, disability compensation, and GI Bill benefits. It also tends to be viewed as a “red flag” on future job applications, government or otherwise, an...

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