court martial | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Courts

A court martial is a military court that has the authority to try members of the military for offenses under military law.


Court martials are used to enforce discipline and to ensure that military personnel are held accountable for their actions.

There are three types of court martial: summary, special, and general. A summary court martial is the most basic type of court martial and is used to hear cases involving minor offenses. A special court martial is a more serious type of court martial and is used to hear cases involving more serious offenses. A general court martial is the most serious type of court martial and is used to hear cases involving the most serious offenses, such as crimes punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.

Court martials are governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), which is a federal law that applies to all branches of the military. Court martials are conducted by military judges and involve the presentation of evidence and the examination of witnesses in a manner similar to civilian courts.


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Last Modified: 01/08/2023

 

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