Navy increases transparency around courts-martial

In July 2013, the U.S. Navy released information about the courts-martial the Navy and U.S. Marines had convened during the first six months of 2013. Navy officials say that the distribution of the information is intended to help the military battle sexual assault within the Navy's fleet. Those in the military should be aware of the Navy's new policy of disseminating information about courts-martial and the importance of having skilled legal representation during a court-martial.

Reporting charges and courts martial

The Navy posted the report about courts-martial in the Navy and the Marines online. The Navy's report listed the paygrade of the person who faced charges, the charges against the person, the place the court-martial was held, the verdict and any penalties the court imposed. Initially the Navy did not include names in the report, but then later decided to release the names of those who were found guilty. Navy officials stated that they have no plans to publish the names of those who are found not guilty. The Navy plans to update the information each month.

Common charges for courts-martial

Navy records revealed that the Navy convened 136 special and general courts-martial from January through June of 2013. The report shows that about 30 percent of the cases involved sex-related charges. Half of those charges were sexual assault charges. The Navy had 15 cases involving use of illegal substances. The Marines handled 214 cases in the first half of 2013. About 25 percent of the charges Marines faced were sex-related, and 40 of the cases dealt with use of illegal substances.

Talk to an attorney

The Uniform Code of Military Justice governs the actions of those in the military, which makes legal proceedings in the military different than those in the civilian world. A service member who is facing a court-martial risks losing his or her entire future in the military, as well as potential jail time. The serious nature of a court-martial means that service members facing criminal charges should enlist the help of an attorney with a thorough understanding of the UCMJ and military legal procedures. An attorney unfamiliar with military law may make errors that could cost a service member his or her career.

If you are a military service member facing criminal charges, seek the assistance of a lawyer with experience successfully resolving military cases who can help ensure the best possible resolution to your case.