What is a Summary Court-Martial?

Trial by summary court-martial provides a simplified procedure for the resolution of charges involving minor incidents of misconduct. The summary court-martial consists of one officer who is not required to be an attorney or judge. It is frequently a line officer from within the command. The maximum punishment a summary court-martial may impose is considerably less than a special or general court-martial. The accused must consent to be tried by a summary court-martial, and the service member can request trial by a "regular" court-martial. Of particular importance is the fact that conviction by Summary Court-Martial does not count as a "conviction" in the civilian world.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

Recent Accomplishments

Air Force Court Reverses Military Judge’s Dismissal of Sexual Assault Charge

By William Cassara | September 3, 2020

In January 2016, Senior Airman Harrington was at a party with several individuals. SSgt FC, LB, and TSgt KW were at the party as well. The group played several drinking games, including an “adult” version of Jenga. The game required individuals to perform tasks, such as removing articles of clothing […]

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Navy Criminal Appeals

Navy-Marine Corps Court Affirms Assault Conviction for HIV Positive Marine

By Beth Harvey | August 20, 2020

NMCCA issued an opinion in the case of US v Lewis this week. Sgt Lewis was convicted of three specifications of failure to obey a lawful order, one specification of sexual assault by causing bodily harm, one specification of indecent viewing, and one specification of assault consummated by a battery. […]

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caaf army

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Limits the Use of Prior Statements at Trial

By William Cassara | July 14, 2020

Military rules of evidence generally do not allow hearsay statements to be admitted at trial. Hearsay statements are statements made outside of court that are offered as proof of the substance of that statement. There are several exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as statements included in regular business records. […]

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