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Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Apr 22, 2016 | 0 Comments

Although a court-martial verdict may feel like the end of the line, the appeals process in the military is actually quite extensive. Special and general courts-martial are reviewed automatically by the convening authority (who can reduce the sentence or charge), and if that re-examination doesn't...

Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Apr 11, 2016 | 0 Comments

A verdict is not always the end of a court-martial case. Special and general courts-martial are always automatically reviewed by the convening authority (i.e., the person who convened the court-martial in the first place). Amongst other important duties, this person has the right to reduce the se...

Army Court of Criminal Appeals

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Mar 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

As we discussed in a recent blog post, many court-martial verdicts are automatically reviewed. In fact, special and general courts-martial are always reviewed by the convening authority, who can reduce the sentence or charge but not increase it. However, if you would like to appeal the results of...

What Is the Penalty for Desertion in the Military?

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Mar 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

In the armed forces, desertion describes the crime of abandoning the military with the intent to permanently leaved the armed forces. It also applies to someone who deserts in an attempt to evade a critical service or avoid a high-risk duty. The intent of the accused isn't just a detail; it is th...

Dereliction of Duty

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Mar 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

Although all employees are required to perform certain duties, in the military, service members must perform assigned duties and follow given orders by law. Failure to do so is a crime outlined in the United States Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and known as dereliction of duty. The specific off...

Conduct Unbecoming an Officer

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Feb 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Throughout our lives, we take on different roles – child, friend, employee, parent, boss, etc. – and we are expected to behave in certain ways according to these roles. For example, children are expected to respect their parents, and employees are expected to be polite and professional. In the mi...

How to Appeal a Court-Martial

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Feb 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

In the moment before a verdict is announced at a court-martial, a million thoughts will likely race through the mind of the accused. Do I have a good chance at being deemed innocent? If I'm guilty, what will my sentence be? How will this verdict affect my life? Amongst your doubts, fears, and hop...

General Court-Martial Convening Authority

Posted by Ernesto Gapasin | Jan 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

In order for a court-martial to take place, someone must convene it. Only a select group of people are allowed to do this, including the President, the Secretary of Defense, and specific commanding officers. Amongst many other duties, the convening authority will decide what charges to refer and ...

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...

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