What is a Special Court-Martial?

A special court-martial is the intermediate court level. It consists of a military judge, trial counsel (prosecutor), defense counsel, and a minimum of three officers sitting as a panel of court members or jury. An enlisted accused may request a court composed of at least one-third enlisted personnel. An accused, officer or enlisted, may also request trial by judge alone. Regardless of the offenses involved, a special court-martial sentence is limited to no more than one year confinement, forfeiture of two-third's basic pay per month for one year, a bad-conduct discharge (for enlisted personnel), and certain lesser punishments. An officer accused in a special court-martial cannot be dismissed from the service or confined.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

Recent Accomplishments

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Reverses Navy-Marine Corps Court on Hazing Case

By William Cassara | May 14, 2021

The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) recently published its opinion in United States v. Mader reversing a Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals decision in a case involving an NCO’s charged hazing of junior Marines. A Sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines was executing orders out of […]

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air force drug conviction

CAAF Reverses Army Court on Hearsay Ruling

By William Cassara | April 30, 2021

In June 2020, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals issued an opinion in United States v. Henry affirming the military judge’s decision to exclude four hearsay statements made by the alleged victim and her son. We discussed that opinion here. The government appealed the Army Court decision to the Court […]

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William E. Cassara, Military Law Attorney

Army Court Reverses Conviction – ACCA Opinion U.S. v. Hannah

By William Cassara | April 24, 2021

We are thrilled to report that the Army Court of Criminal Appeals set aside and dismissed our client’s convictions for two specifications of sexual assault.  We argued that the military judge improperly created the appearance of bias in favor of the government because of her inappropriate conduct toward our client’s […]

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