Special Courts-Martial

Military Law Info & Help

In the military, court martial trials are governed by the Manual for Courts-Martial (MCM), which contains the Uniform Code of Military Justice [1](UCMJ), Rules for Courts-Martial (RCM) and the Military Rules of Evidence [2](MRE).  Chapter II, Rule 201(f)(2) [3] of the Manual for Courts-Martial provides, in part, as follows:

“Special courts-martial.

(A) In general. Except as otherwise expressly provided, special courts-martial may try any person subject to the code for any noncapital offense made punishable by the code and, as provided in this rule, for capital offenses.”

Attorney Keith Scherer

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A special court-martial is the intermediate level court-martial and is often characterized as the military equivalent of a civilian misdemeanor court.  A special court-martial may try anyone subject to the UCMJ, including officers, midshipmen, reservists who allegedly committed crimes when in active-duty status, and, under certain, circumstances, military retirees.

Regardless of the offenses involved, a special court-martial sentence is limited to no more than twelve-months confinement (or a lesser amount if the offenses have a lower maximum), forfeiture of two-third’s pay per month for six months, a bad-conduct discharge (for enlisted personnel), and lesser punishments.

Punishments Resulting from Special Court Martial

Pursuant to the terms of the RCM:

“(B) Punishments.

(i) Upon a finding of guilty, special courts- martial may adjudge, under limitations prescribed by this Manual, any punishment authorized under R.C.M. 1003 except death, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, confinement for more than 1 year, hard labor without confinement for more than 3 months, forfeiture of pay exceeding two-thirds pay per month, or any forfeiture of pay for more than 1 year.”

Call Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC today to schedule a consultation with a civilian military criminal defense lawyer.

With a special court-martial, the military accused will be appointed a military defense lawyer in his or her branch of service.  The military accused also has the right to hire a civilian defense attorney.  The statutes and procedures regarding a special court-martial are complex making it important to consult with a civilian military criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you have been accused of a crime.  To schedule a free case evaluation with one of our military criminal defense attorneys, call our office today at 877-867-5247.

References:

[1] http://www.ucmj.us
[2] https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/135/Docs/JAM/JSC/New%20MREs%20-%20Updated%20June%202015.pdf
[3] https://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/MCM-2012.pdf

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