Gonzalez & Waddington: Expertise in Military Courts-Martial Defense
Facing a criminal accusation is a daunting experience. When this occurs within the military justice system, the stakes are even higher due to its distinct nature. At Gonzalez & Waddington, we specialize in navigating the complexities of military courts-martial, ensuring that service members receive the robust defense they deserve.
Understanding Military Courts-Martial
While many are familiar with the civilian criminal justice system, the military’s approach is uniquely intricate. A military criminal trial is termed a “Court-Martial.” Though some charges parallel those in the civilian system, the Court-Martial process is distinct and requires specialized expertise. Our military defense lawyers at Gonzalez & Waddington boast extensive experience, having litigated numerous Courts-Martial as prosecutors, defense counsel, and even military judges.
Types of Courts-Martial
Summary Court-Martial (SCM): The most basic level, typically addressing minor offenses where nonjudicial punishment isn’t deemed sufficient. It consists of a single officer overseeing the proceedings. While a military defense counsel isn’t usually authorized, a civilian defense counsel can represent the accused at their expense.
Special Court-Martial (SPCM): An intermediate level, with a jurisdictional maximum imposable punishment including a reduction in grade, forfeiture of pay, confinement, bad conduct discharge, and fines.
General Court-Martial (GCM): The most serious type, handling grave offenses. Punishments can range from reduction in grade, forfeiture of all pay, confinement for life, dishonorable discharge, to even death for specific offenses.
The Court-Martial Process
The process typically commences post a law enforcement investigation. The report is then handed to the member’s chain of command. Depending on the severity, the commander might opt for a Court-Martial, nonjudicial punishment, administrative discharge, or other administrative actions.
For cases proceeding to a GCM, an Article 32 preliminary investigation is mandatory. This safeguards service members from unfounded charges. The Preliminary Hearing Officer (PHO) conducts this investigation, ensuring the charges are valid and recommending the appropriate course of action.
Your Rights During the Trial
Every accused has a plethora of rights during the trial:
Representation by military and civilian defense counsel.
Raising motions regarding points of law.
Choosing between a jury or a military judge for the trial.
Invoking the Military Rules of Evidence.
Remaining silent or testifying.
Requesting the production of relevant witnesses and evidence.
Access to information available to the Government counsel through the “Discovery” process.
Presenting matters in extenuation and mitigation if convicted.
Why Choose Gonzalez & Waddington?
Experienced Representation: Our attorneys have vast experience in military law, ensuring you’re represented by someone who understands the intricacies of the military justice system.
Comprehensive Defense Strategy: From assessing the credibility of witnesses to analyzing evidence and collaborating with experts, we leave no stone unturned.
Rights Protection: We ensure your rights are upheld throughout the process, from the initial investigation to the court-martial.
False Accused of Sexual Assault in the Military?
Being accused within the military justice system can be overwhelming. But with Gonzalez & Waddington by your side, you’re not alone. Our team of dedicated civilian military defense lawyers is here to guide you every step of the way. If you or a loved one faces charges, reach out to us. We’re committed to defending your rights and ensuring justice is served.
Our military defense lawyers defend the following types of court-martial cases: