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How the Navy responds to court-martialing a servicemember

In the past month, we have been talking about sexual assault in the military. This is a very important topic, as this terrible crime is unacceptable -- whether it happens within military circles or not. However, no matter whether this crime occurs under military law or civil law, a defendant still has his or her right to a defense. Military sexual assault may come with other complicating factors that may not be present in a civil case.

All of this reminds us of some major information that the Navy released regarding their courts-martial last year in response to sexual assault cases in the Navy. It involved clarification of their policy, which highlighted two key aspects:

  • The Navy published numerous bits of crucial information about people who face charges under court-martial, such as their pay grade, the charges against the person, and the verdict, as well as the name of the person if they were found guilty.
  • The Navy released information about the courts-martial they implemented in the first half of 2013. About 30 percent of the 136 courts-martial that were held involved sex-related crimes, and about half of those involved sexual assault.

Obviously, military court is very different from civil court. The Uniform Code of Military Justice reigns over all military legal proceedings, and with that come different rules and regulations. Any military member who is facing criminal charges under court-martial needs an attorney to protect his or her military future, which is most definitely threatened in any military case.

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