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Military Defense Lawyer Answers Commonly Military Law Questions

Should I Go with a Judge Bench Trial or Jury in a Military Criminal Trial?

Falsely Accused of a Crime? What to Do If It Happens to You

Criminal defense attorney, Michael Waddington, discusses whether you can own a gun if you received non-judicial punishment in the military? Call 1-800-921-8607 to speak with a criminal defense attorney today.

Should I Go with a Judge Alone or a Jury in a Military Court-Martial?

What are some of the benefits of having a judge alone in a military court-martial? Well, one of the biggest benefits is that judges are often selected because of their temperament. A military judge can look at a case with fact patterns that might otherwise get people to become very emotional, angry, and upset, and look at it very dispassionately and just apply the facts to the law.

The problem with going with a judge alone, however, is that you have only one person there, the judge, acting as the fact finder. Some judges are more prosecution friendly than others, some judges are more defense friendly. So, deciding to go judge alone vs with a jury will really depend on the circumstances and situation. We like to go judge alone in cases where there is a legal issue in question. Especially if it’s a legal issue that has a lot of drama going on in the background that the jury otherwise wouldn’t know about.

Let’s say some of the victims are very well-known liars. There is all this drama going on in the background, and the jury might not get to hear that information. One could take that case in front of a judge, and get that information out there, and although the judge isn’t supposed to consider that information if it’s excluded, once they have heard it, it’s very hard to “un-ring” that bell, so to speak. An experienced military criminal defense attorney will be able to help you make the decision as to whether or not you should go with a jury or judge alone.

Sixth Amendment Rights to a Jury Trial and a Lawyer

The right to a speedy trial is guaranteed for defendants held under a cloud of unproven criminal charges. The right to a public trial protects defendants from malicious prosecutors, corrupt and malleable judges, lying witnesses, and bribery-prone juries.

When a defendant requests a closed trial, he must demonstrate that an open trial impedes his right to a fair hearing and that no reasonable alternative would guarantee a fair trial. In some cases, courts have justified restricting access to a trial because the public would undermine defendants “rights to due process. In these cases, the accused may forego a jury trial and be heard by a judge.

The Sixth Amendment states that every defendant has the right to a lawyer. That right is for a lawyer to defend him or her in court, but there is more at stake than just being present at a criminal trial. Under the rights guaranteed by the Constitution, defendants are advised to seek professional advice.

The last clause of the Sixth Amendment, which entitles the accused to counsel, applies to interrogations and trials in custody (see Assigned Legal Counsel). A lawyer’s right to defend him or her in court does not depend on the defendant’s ability to pay a lawyer. If a defendant can’t afford a lawyer, the government is obliged to provide one. In the case law, a lawyer’s right to access has been extended to suspicious hearings, actual trials, convictions, and the first part of appeals.

The accused shall have the right in all prosecutions to:

  • a rapid and public trial by an impartial jury
  • a public trial in the state or district in which the defendant allegedly committed the crime
  • a public trial by the law of the district under investigation
  • to be informed about the nature and cause of the indictment,
  • to confront witnesses against him
  • to have a mandatory trial for obtaining witnesses in his favor with the assistance of a defense attorney.

Any action before the common law in which the value of the dispute exceeds twenty dollars respects the right to a jury trial, and no fact heard by a jury in the United States will ever be re-examined under the common law rules.

In any prosecution, the defendant shall enjoy these rights:

  1. To have a speedier and fairer trial by an impartial jury of the state or district in which the crime was committed, of the district under investigation by law, and, if so, to have the nature of the indictment discussed by the witnesses, and
  2. To be confronted by all the witnesses against him himself, with a mandatory trial to obtain witnesses in favor of the accused, and with the assistance and assistance of the defense of the accused.

The Sixth Amendment grants defendants the right to a rapid and public trial by an impartial jury. The jurors shall be from the state or county where the crime is alleged to have been committed. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court extended jury trial to defendants in the state courts, but the court has revised that standard since then. The court had ruled that the right of juries under the Sixth Amendment indicates that it is to be understood as applied to customary law, including the essential elements recognized in the land of England when the Constitution was adopted.

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The court rejected the assertion of a right of access to counsel in civil, criminal proceedings on the basis that the Sixth Amendment applied to the filing of criminal charges. The Supreme Court ruled that the only appropriate remedy for the accused was a speedy trial, which was violated by the complete dismissal of the charges. The governor’s “order to close our courts in contravention of the Constitution begins with the fact that the accused is not granted a speedy and public trial in criminal proceedings.

If the government makes an application for a halt to the proceedings in a public trial, the defendant has the right for the public to be present to observe the proceedings. The confrontation clause strengthens the rights of the accused by requiring them to confront the witnesses against them. The accused must be able to confront witnesses against him and cross-examine them to ensure that due process rights are respected. That witness statements are made in an open court instead of hearsay statements where the court cannot establish the accuracy.

Two same-day U.S. Supreme Court cases describe tests used to determine the constitutional validity of the right to counsel. First, participants in civil, criminal proceedings may invoke the Sixth Amendment right to characterize the proceedings as criminal prosecutions, and the court may initiate a two-part investigation. Four factors are considered: the length of delay, the reason for the delay, whether the accused has a right to a speedy trial, and whether the delay prejudices the accused.

When law enforcement officers question a high-ranking corporate executive before launching formal criminal proceedings, the Sixth Amendment stipulates that there is no valid waiver of the right to counsel and that any executive action against the company is inadmissible in criminal proceedings. If the government files criminal charges against a company under the Fifth Amendment, the right to legal counsel that the company has at its disposal will be foreclosed on. Any questioning of the company must be conducted in the presence of a business consultant. The Sixth Amendment’s confrontation clause gives defendants the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses. The coercive clause gives them the right to call their witnesses when witnesses are forced to testify.

The Sixth Amendment is an addendum to the United States Constitution of 1791, part of the Bill of Rights that sets the procedures for criminal courts. It grants several rights to those charged with criminal offenses, including the right to a lawyer and the right to a jury trial. The Sixth Amendment Initiative works with states and local governments to protect the rights of people accused of crimes in the U.S. Constitution.

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