Have Military Law Questions? Ask a Military Lawyer.
I recently turned down an Article 15 and demanded trial by court martial. Afterwards I was pressured by my parents due to financial burden and concern for my well being of going through the process alone to return to my chain of command and request returning to and accepting an Article 15. I explained to my command that out of respect for them I would do this. I have yet to receive word from my command if this would be allowed, however I was told that in me even asking to do this can and would be used against me specifically as an admission of guilt if it ultimately proceeds to court martial. I do not understand how this is so, since I explained I requested this strictly out of my parents concerns and I did not admit to anything. Please help as this has me very concerned. Also, how should I proceed forward with my command to not further hurt me if this is the case? Should I continue with the request or just explain that I will accept what they ultimately decide and say nothing further? Thanks for the help.
Hello,Thank you for the information and your question. Although I am not sure who would have told you that telling your Command that you would accept NJP is an admission of guilt, that is not the case. That, of course, assumes that you said absolutely nothing about the facts of the case and did not otherwise admit that you did anything wrong. Picking a forum to resolve an allegation of violation of the UCMJ is not an admission. Of course, I was not privy to the conversation so I couldn't conclusively say you didn't make an admission.Anyway, at this point, you made your request to return to an Article 15 and that is all you can do to control the situation. You should not make any more statements at all about this issue and just wait to see what the Command decides. All that said, I am not really sure what kind of financial burden your parents were concerned with should you go to court-martial as the process doesn't directly cost you any money, other than if you were convicted and you were fined as a part of your punishment. You would be assigned a very competent and professional judge advocate to represent you, so that wouldn't be a cost. But in any event, at this point, you just have to let the process run its course, and if you need legal assistance, go to the local defense office for help.Please let me know if you have any specific follow up questions. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Thanks for your reply. I did not state anything about my case at all to my command and I only stated out of concern of my family I request to return back to NJP and that I would accept those proceedings, if possible. It was actually one of the JAG defense attorneys that I spoke with afterwards that made this comment to me that this could be used as an admission of guilt (which I did not do) in a court martial. I was very concerned with what he said as I am not too familiar with the MCM/rules for court martials. I am sure my command will return to me and ask me about this again and if that is still what I request, would it be okay to state the same and nothing further?
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).