What is a Court-Martial?

A Court-Martial is the military’s version of a trial at which the prosecution must prove a servicemember’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to either a jury or a judge (depending on the servicemember’s selection). Being the accused at a Court-Martial can be a terrifying, confusing, and emotional time. If a servicemember is facing a Court-Martial, he/she should take the allegations very seriously. A Court-Martial is a federal trial and if the accused is convicted, they will have a federal conviction for the rest of their life on their record. Furthermore, depending on the charges, a servicemember faces jail time, a punitive discharge from the military, reduction in rank, loss of pay, fines and sex offender registration.

It is important that a servicemember going through a Court-Martial have an experienced, intelligent, and hard-working lawyer in their corner. Effective representation requires knowledge of military law, meticulous preparation, and strong advocacy skills.

Why Representation Matters

Servicemembers are appointed military counsel to represent them, which is the military’s version of public defenders. Many are good lawyers; many are not. Regardless of their competency, all are only temporarily assigned to these positions, so they are generally not very experienced. Additionally, servicemembers are usually not allowed to choose their military lawyers, being stuck with whoever is assigned to them. Finally, military public defenders are often overworked, having to provide legal representation for very large military populations.

Servicemembers should want an experienced lawyer who has the time, energy, and skill to properly prepare and present a defense to the charges they are facing. Servicemembers have the option to hire their own civilian counsel, allowing them to choose who represents them. If they do hire outside counsel, the appointed military counsel typically stays on the case and works alongside the civilian counsel. Servicemembers who are serious about fighting the accusations against them should strongly consider hiring outside counsel to join and lead their defense.

Client Testimonial

“Attorney Barry is by far the hardest working man I know. He helped me during my Court Martial and never let a question go unanswered. He worked long nights because he is passionate about being a lawyer. Attorney Barry is the best lawyer I could recommend. He definitely has the ability and drive to make things happen for his clients.

I would tell anyone who would listen to me that if you have a legal problem, you should go see Attorney Barry. If you sit down and talk with him for five minutes, you will reach the same conclusion I have. I would rate his service and experience as a 5/5.”

- E1, U.S. Army

Court-Martial Process

For more information on the Court-Martial process, read Attorney Barry’s informational articles here.

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The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. The information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.