Have Military Law Questions? Ask a Military Lawyer.
Thank you for your question today, I look forward to assisting you. I have nearly 20 years of legal experience in various disciplines, including JAG.
No, you do not. When you accept the Article 15 forum, that does two things.
First, it limits the amount of punishment that you can face. You would have been subject to much greater punishments had this been done at the court martial level.
Second, it limits the rights that you have. The right to appeals, the right to a judge, the rules of evidence and procedure, to a jury, to extended due process....those are all rights at court martial. You can have all of them, but you have to turn down the Article 15 when given the chance and demand trial by court martial.
Regrettably, when you accepted the forum of Article 15, you gave up all those rights. Your only appeal right is to the next level commander. There is no other appellate authority and no other option. There is no oversight over the choice of the battalion and brigade commanders. Their power, in a non-judicial action, is absolute. This is why we give soldiers the right to refuse Article 15's.
I'm sorry. I wish I could tell you differently here, but you gave up many rights when you accepted the Article 15 forum.
Do I have any chance at fighting the associated discharge proceedings or is that too a lost cause?
That will depend on how long you've been in and what level of discharge they seek.
If you've been in over 6 years or they go for an Other than Honorable discharge, you'll be entitled to a board hearing. Then you'd be able to fight the basis for discharge, fight for a higher classification of your discharge, etc. You'd have limited rights to appeal, but only to the commander after the board made its decision. The real benefit there is having the board.
Now, if they don't seek an OTH and you have less than 6 years of service, they can just give you a General Discharge with a notification process, which means no board. It would be just like an Article 15 then, administrative. It would be automatic. Yes, you'd get to submit a letter and appeal to the next level commander, but there would be no oversight from any legal entity.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).