Civilian Counsel and Military Justice


Prosecution of charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) are extremely serious in nature and can result in a felony conviction as well as a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge and an unfortunate and untimely end to what otherwise may be an excellent military career.

It is extremely important to understand that an individual can hire civilian counsel as well as be assigned a military JAG officer for defense in a case. In addition, it is very important to understand those military investigative agencies such as NCIS, CID, etc. may very well use intimidation tactics and scare tactics to attempt to extract a statement or confession. These agencies may use threatening tactics by stating that if an individual does not speak with them that they will ensure that charges are pressed more vigorously than normal. It should be noted that the criminal investigators have no power to do this and are simply trying to encourage self-incrimination. Very rarely does a person talk themselves out of situation and more frequently than not, a person actually talks themselves into problems.

An individual has a right to any attorney at any time during one of the investigative sessions and should utilize that by stating that they wish to have their attorney present and that they wish to make no statements to the investigator. It then becomes extremely important to contact the legal service offices of the particular base or military installation and secure not only military counsel but also qualified civilian counsel. It is important that an individual contact civilian counsel as soon as possible since the military system of justice moves much quicker than civilian courts. It is extremely important to hire defense counsel that is familiar with the manuals for court martials and the rules for court martials since they can be significantly different than that of the state or federal system. Also, the procedure used in a military setting is far different than that in the civilian sector and must be understood fully in order to provide the most effective defense possible. Therefore, it becomes extremely important to select an individual that has military experience and has experience trying court martials and jury trials

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