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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 50277 Find in a Library
Title: SUMMARY AND SPECIAL COURTS-MARTIAL - AN EMPIRICAL INVESTIGATION
Journal: SAINT LOUIS UNIVERSITY LAW JOURNAL  Volume:18  Dated:(SPRING 1974)  Pages:329-379
Author(s): P LERMACK
Corporate Author: St Louis University School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1974
Page Count: 51
Sponsoring Agency: St Louis University School of Law
St Louis, MO 63108
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THIS STUDY USES SOCIAL SCIENCE METHODS TO EXAMINE MINOR ARMY TRIAL COURTS. IT ASKS: WHO IS BROUGHT TO TRIAL FOR WHAT CRIMES, HOW ARE THEY TREATED, AND DO THEY BENEFIT FROM THEIR GUARANTEED RIGHTS?
Abstract: IN ORDER TO SUPPLEMENT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY THE U.S. ARMY JUDICIARY RELATED TO MINOR COURTS-MARTIAL AND TO OBTAIN A SAMPLE OF TRIALS HELD BEFORE SPECIAL AND SUMMARY COURTS, IT WAS NECESSARY TO EXAMINE LOG BOOKS AND RECORDS OF TRIALS HELD AT FORT MEADE, MD., DURING 1969. THE STUDY PARTICULARLY WAS INTERESTED IN DETERMINING WHETHER DEFENDANTS WERE ALLOWED THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL AND THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL. ABOUT 2,600 CASES IN SPECIAL COURTS AND 750 CASES IN SUMMARY COURTS WERE ANALYZED. THE TYPICAL DEFENDANT FACING COURT-MARTIAL WAS AN ENLISTED MAN, UNMARRIED, BETWEEN 20 AND 24 YEARS OF AGE, AND OF AVERAGE OR SLIGHTLY BELOW AVERAGE INTELLIGENCE AS MEASURED BY ARMY INTELLIGENCE TESTS. THE MAJOR MILITARY DISCIPLINE PROBLEM WAS ABSENCE FROM DUTY, AND THE MOST COMMON CHARGE BROUGHT AGAINST DEFENDANTS WAS ABSENCE WITHOUT LEAVE. OFFENSES INVOLVING MILITARY DISCIPLINE ARE STATUTORY CRIMES BECAUSE CERTAIN ACTS ARE VIEWED AS ENDANGERING MILITARY DISCIPLINE. LOWER COURTS-MARTIAL, IN CONTRAST TO GENERAL COURTS-MARTIAL, ARE VIEWED AS INSTRUMENTALITIES TO SOCIALIZE SOLDIERS TO MAKE THEIR BEHAVIOR CONFORM TO MILITARY STANDARDS. THE TWO PROCEDURAL RIGHTS STUDIED, THE RIGHT TO A SPEEDY TRIAL AND THE RIGHT TO COUNSEL, SEEMED TO BE WELL PROTECTED. DEFENDANTS BEFORE GENERAL COURTS-MARTIAL RECEIVED BETWEEN 5 AND 8 WEEKS TO PREPARE A DEFENSE WHILE DEFENDANTS BEFORE MINOR COURTS-MARTIAL WERE SUBJECTED TO A MUCH SPEEDIER PROCESS. WITH SOME RESERVATIONS, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT MILITARY APPOINTED DEFENSE ATTORNEY'S TRY TO DO THEIR BEST FOR THEIR CLIENTS ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS ALLOWED SUFFICIENT TIME TO PREPARE THE DEFENSE. THREE FEATURES OF THE ARMY COURT SYSTEM THAT HURT THE EFFORT TO MAINTAIN DISCIPLINE ARE THE USE OF IMPERSONAL PIPELINE PROCEDURES THAT RUSH DEFENDANTS THROUGH THE PROCESS, THE USE OF SUMMARY COURTS-MARTIAL WHICH HAVE NO SPECIALIZED LEGAL PERSONNEL CONNECTED WITH THEM, AND THE RELATIVE INFLEXIBILITY OF SENTENCES. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Discipline; Military justice; Right to counsel; Right to speedy trial; US Armed Forces
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=50277

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