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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 98118 Find in a Library
Title: Third System of Justice - Military Justice (From Courts and Criminal Justice, P 95-120, 1985, Susette M Talarico, ed. - See NCJ-98113)
Author(s): G N Keveles
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 26
Sponsoring Agency: Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A comparison of the American military court system with civilian and juvenile court structures concludes that the military justice system should be reformed, using the experience of other countries.
Abstract: Military justice has some features of both the criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system. It also has its own unique features. The criminal justice system is punitive in orientation, whereas juvenile justice tries to take a therapeutic approach. The military justice system is paternalistic, conciliatory, adversarial, and punitive, and offers training, education, discipline, and punishment, depending on the experience of the offender and the nature of the offense. Military law defines offenses similar to those in the civilian codes; it also identifies status offenses. Although the military courts have a hierarchical structure similar to that of criminal courts, the operations of some military courts have some analogies with juvenile courts. The participants in the military system are commissioned officers who are not lawyers but who have nonjudicial factfinding and sanctioning powers, officers of the Judge Advocate General's Corps, and commanders with broad discretion over military justice. Both punitive and nonpunitive measures can be imposed without the use of trial proceedings. Summary court martials, the lowest trial court level, are administrative proceedings. Special court martials handle large volumes of cases and use formal court proceedings. The general court martial is the highest trial forum and offers the most procedural protections before and during the trial. Reforms have occurred gradually in the military justice system, making it increasingly similar to the criminal justice system. However, the system has major problems. Other nations have either abolished or drastically reformed their military justice systems, often making them operative only in wars or emergencies. In these countries, service personnel have the rights of any citizen, and the military has retained only the nonjudicial subsystem. The United States should examine the feasibility of such reforms so that all service personnel would be treated as first class citizens in uniform. A list of cases, 23 notes and 48 references are supplied.
Index Term(s): Court reform; Foreign criminal justice systems; Military justice; United States of America
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