Courts of Military Law

Regardless of the criminal charges that are brought against a service member, the first step is to determine the appropriate legal disposition. There are two types of court martial: a preliminary inquiry and a full trial. The latter requires that the accused service member undergo a trial and must prove that he was convicted of a crime. The former involves a criminal case, which must be decided before a jury is appointed. The latter, also known as an administrative proceeding, can be used to deal with non-criminal matters relating to military discipline.

General court-martial

A general court-martial is the highest level of the military’s court system. It tries service members for the worst crimes. Moreover, the punishment authority of a general court-martial is limited to the maximum authorized by the Manual for Courts-Martial. However, it is important to note that the military has its own unique set of rules and procedures. An Article 32 investigation is akin to a grand jury in civilian society. An Article 32 officer recommends charges, but this is not binding on the convening authority. A general commission may be held to investigate the circumstances surrounding an alleged criminal offense.

Justice system

During a court martial, a judge determines whether a person is guilty of an offense. The military justice system is equipped to deal with any type of crime, including a violent crime. Depending on the severity of the offense, a judge or special court martial will be convened. During a special court martial, the judge will hear the case, and an attorney will represent the defendant. A general court martial is the final step, and conviction can result in incarceration.

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