What To Expect When Facing A Court-Martial?

Pre-Trial Procedures For Court-Martial

Suppose you’re facing a potential court-martial trial and you aren’t exactly sure what it is and how it can affect your life. In general, any person associated with the U.S. military could potentially face a court-martial from the Uniform Code of Military Justice for committing offenses against U.S. military law. If an accused party is found guilty, the punishment usually depends on the crimes and can include reduction in grade, confinement, a punitive discharge, and even prison.

Any member of the armed forces can be accused and end up facing a trial due to unfortunate circumstances. For that reason, if you ever find yourself accused of misconduct and face a court-martial, it’s best to hire an experienced court-martial attorney to steer you through the process.

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When facing a court-martial, you can presume that the process will be long and arduous. Most investigations can drag on for multiple months before a final decision is made. In brief, as soon as the investigation is concluded, a high-ranking military official will decide whether you’ll face court-martial charges or not. The entire process from being initially charged to trial can take between eight weeks and eight months to process.

Facing a Court-Martial

At this early stage, the accused party facing a court-martial will be invited to the commander’s office, usually in full-service uniform. The accused is anticipated to stand in attention in the commander’s presence and other high-ranking military officials. These military officials are likely to include a First Sergeant, supervisor, and members from the prosecution’s legal office. A complete script detailing the accusation will be read to the accused, who’s foreseen to remain silent during the process.

The Discovery Phase

The whole process starts with “discovery” being demanded by the uniformed member’s defense lawyer. This allows attorneys to receive documents from the prosecution which inform the defense about all evidence. During the discovery phase, gathering additional exculpatory declarations or documents could heavily influence the case’s outcome.

Final Preparations

Besides motions, which are requests to the judge in the form of written legal documents which might limit or completely prohibit a particular piece of evidence from being used in the trial, the final preparations before the trial include witness interviews, prepping clients, and deciding upon trial strategies and tactics.

Types Of Court-Martial

There are three different types of court-martial that a military member may encounter:

Summary Court-Martial

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When a military member gets convicted of a summary court-martial, depending on their rank, the maximum sentence they may face is 30 days of confinement, reduction to E-1, 45 days of unconfined hard labor, and a reduced monthly salary to one third. These types of court-martial can’t result in a discharge of the military, and the process doesn’t involve a judge or jury.

Special Court-Martial

This type of court-martial involves a judge and a panel. The punishments handed out from these are harsher than those from summary court-martial and less severe than the third type of court-martial. The max sentences include one year of confinement, reduced wages to one-third for six months, reduced E-1, hard labor, and restriction.

General Court-Martial

The max sentence in a general court-martial is dependent on the offense committed. If there’s a probable cause, this can be determined by a neutral military lawyer, called a preliminary hearing officer, after an Article 32 hearing. Like special court-martial, a two-thirds majority is demanded from the panel for a conviction. This proportion may be increased to three-quarters if the sentence exceeds ten years of confinement.

Court-Martial Sentencing

If found guilty, the next phase of the court-martial procedure is sentencing. First, the evidence is presented to the court by the government before the defense attorney has the opportunity to respond. The response is a real chance to present any mitigating evidence that may reduce the final sentence.

This can involve any evidence that speaks to the defendant’s character or previous actions that suggest that the defendant deserves a less severe sentence. After this phase of the process, the panel must make up their minds and agree on the verdict. If the sentence comprises confinement, the guilty party or parties will be taken into custody upon the ending of the trial.

Final Thoughts

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So, now that you know what to expect from it if you’re facing a court-martial proceeding, try to stay as calm as possible during the process and prepare a winning strategy to keep yourself out of trouble. For that reason, you should consider seeking the assistance of an experienced court-martial attorney to represent you during the case to ensure that you’ll get the most favorable outcome out of it.

Soldier Avoids Discharge – Gets 30 Days in Korea Brawl

Stars And Stripes
By Ashley Rowland, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SEOUL — A sergeant at U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan was sentenced Monday to 30 days of confinement and a reduction in rank to E-3 for hitting two other soldiers during a street brawl outside an Itaewon nightclub in February in which two soldiers were severely beaten and one was stabbed.

False Accusations of Sexual Assault in the Military & Why Are They So Common?

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Military Intelligence Brigade

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Sgt. MJ, of the 501st Military Intelligence Brigade, was charged with one specification of making a false official statement and two specifications of felony aggravated assault with means likely to produce death or grievous bodily injury for allegedly beating two soldiers with a beer bottle. He faced 11 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge.

As part of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to and was convicted of two lesser offenses of misdemeanor assault consummated by battery. The false official statement charge was dropped.

Joyner, who was tried by military judge alone, was also sentenced to a forfeiture in pay of $300 per month for three months.

One soldier was stabbed in the chest during the Feb. 1 fight outside the popular King Club. An altercation started inside the club and spilled onto the street after police emptied the club.

Joyner testified during an Article 32 hearing in July that he got involved in the fight to defend his twin brother, Spc. Markelle Joyner, after he was allegedly attacked by Pvt. Matthew Bonham, who sustained deep cuts and bruises in the incident.

But on Monday, Sgt. Joyner said in the court-martial that he didn’t act in self-defense or to defend anyone else. Joyner’s civilian attorney, Michael Waddington, said outside court that Joyner had been defending his brother during the first part of the fight but not during the entire fight.

Spc. Markelle Joyner was to be court-martialed Tuesday on charges of assault and making false official statements.

Closing Arguments Examples : Kick-Ass Closing Arguments Part 1: Closing Argument Template

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Army Special Forces colonel found NOT GUILTY of Sexual Assault

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) — Army Special Forces Col. KR is a free man after being found not guilty on all charges. After a three day trial, the jury found him not guilty on all five sexual

Col. KR was acquitted of sexual assault charges Thursday. (Army)

A Special Forces officer who faced sexual assault charges at a military court-martial this week was found not guilty on each of the charges Thursday.

Army Special Forces

The eight-man panel that included seven colonels and a brigadier general found Col. KR not guilty of sexually assaulting an Air Force captain who was on the same deployment with him in 2015 to Pakistan.

“We did have faith that the military panel would come to the right decision. We knew what evidence we had and what the truth was. We’re pleased with the verdict,” said defense attorney Michael Waddington. “The government’s two-star witnesses were people known for lying, pathological lying and manipulation. They both have lied under oath repeatedly.”

The accuser, an Air Force reservist, took the stand Wednesday in Fort Bragg’s second judiciary circuit court. She admitted to the court that she hung out with KR, planned KR’s farewell party and had sexual relations with him several times after the alleged sexual assault.

The pair worked together at the U.S. Embassy.

KR, who testified Wednesday that sex with the captain was consensual, pleaded not guilty to all of the charges. Those charges included whether he sexually assaulted the woman and whether he sexually assaulted her while she was asleep, impaired or unable to provide consent and whether he kissed the woman while she was incapacitated, impaired or with the intent for arousal.

During closing arguments, Waddington said he did not think prosecutors provided evidence to support the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

Maj. Stacy Gutarz Cohen, who represented the prosecution, repeated the woman’s testimony in which she alleged that she went to an establishment with KR on June 5, 2015, and could not remember much from that night after having two drinks that KR brought her.

The woman alleged that she woke to KR having sex with her.

KR testified Wednesday that the woman was coherent when she came into his room that night and initiated the sex.

The woman testified Wednesday that she had sex with KR and his housemate, an Army captain, prior to and after the alleged assault.

Both men were married at the time.

The Army captain alleged during his testimony Tuesday that all three left the establishment together in June 2015 and when they returned to the house, he and KR carried the woman upstairs.

The captain, who was granted immunity of his own affair allegations for his testimony, said the woman was not coherent and alleged he saw KR kiss her.

KR said the woman walked up the stairs on her own and all three went to bed after a short conversation in the hallway.

On Thursday, Waddington reminded the panel that the woman said she had sex with the Army captain later the same morning of the alleged assault.

Waddington alleged the woman and captain lied about the story.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

He questioned why she had sex with KR after the alleged assault, went to dinner with him, helped organize two parties for him after the alleged assault, went on a group hike with him that was photographed after the alleged assault or had sex with him the day he left Pakistan.

Waddington questioned why she provided text messages to investigators from March, April, May, and July between her and KR but none from the month of the alleged assault.

He questioned her credibility as a witness because he said she later maintained an on-again, off-again relationship with the Army captain, but “used ploys” to keep the relationship going, which included lying about having had cancer.

“We had faith that the military panel would come to the right decision,” Waddington said. “We knew what evidence we had and what the truth was, so we’re pleased with the verdict.”

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