Your Rights When Facing a Court-Martial – Part I
· Are you a service member (active, Reserve, Guard, discharged, or retired) who faces a court-martial? Or, do you suspect that you may in the future face a court-martial?
· Are you the spouse of a service member who is facing or expects to face a court-martial?
· Are you a family member of a service member who is facing or expects to face a court-martial?
If you said yes to any of the above questions, please read on.
Every attorney- or police-themed show on television has a mention of “Miranda” or someone saying “I want my rights!” We hear about our rights so frequently that you would imagine people know what they are. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
If you have already faced interrogation, the best thing you can do to help yourself and your military attorney is to sit down and make a complete and detailed account of what brought you to this point. Why are you facing a court-martial? Write down who was there, what was said, and what transpired. Be as detailed as possible, as memories fade and your notes will be very helpful later on in the court-martial process. Do not show this document to anyone except your attorney.
If you have not yet been questioned by the police or your command, you have the absolute right to remain silent and speak to an attorney before answering any questions. You should exercise this right.
If you end up at court-martial, an early record of what happened will be very helpful to your court-martial attorney in preparing an effective case.