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Court Martial

Definition - What does Court Martial mean?

A court martial is a trial of a military member by other military personnel. A court martial occurs when a military member has been accused of breaking military law, and a commanding officer convenes a trial. Court martials are very similar to civilian trials. However, there are certain differences. For example, there is not a random jury of peers in a court martial. Instead, there is a panel of military personnel. This panel is usually assigned by a commanding officer.

Justipedia explains Court Martial

Just as civilians are accused of crimes, military members are also accused of committing crimes during their time of service. The civilian population has its own court system. The military does, too. Both involve trials in which evidence is presented and testimonies are given. The term court-martial is really just another way of saying a military court trial. If an accused military person is found guilty during a court-martial, then they can face punitive consequences. Court-martials do not require unanimous decisions from the pane, except in special circumstances, such as if the death penalty will be applied.

There are two types of court martials. General court martial consist of as many as five judges. These courts deal with more serious crimes which may even lead to death penalty three officers conduct a special court martial, which deals with violations and irregularities of lesser intensity and may lead to lengthy confinement, hard labor, etc.

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