Court Martial: A Consequence of Deserting?

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How Often are Deserters Court Martialed?

The horrors of war have never been as evident as they are today. As has always been the case, some soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines cannot mentally, emotionally and/or physically deal with the harsh reality that war exposes them to. Often times, these soldiers feel it is easier to desert their posts rather than pursue a legal means of discharge. With the Bowe Bergdahl controversy in the recent past, it has become of interest to many what number of deserters are actually prosecuted for defecting. A recent inquiry has found that, compared to the number who actually desert, very few are prosecuted.

Though the estimated number of desertions is in the tens of thousands, there have only been about 1,900 prosecutions for desertions since 2001. For example, Army data indicates more than 20,000 soldiers defected since 2006. But, still very few are tried for these crimes.

Over the last 13 years, in the courts-martial that were held, about half of those that were accused of deserting plead guilty. Almost 80 of the soldiers facing court-martial were convicted of desertion after a trial. While desertion may not be difficult to prove, other factors involved in the case, including post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health issues, multiple deployments and/or family problems are also considered during the proceedings. Soldiers deserting to avoid deployment or who leave posts when they are responsible for protecting others in dangerous places could be more likely to be found guilty.

Whether you are facing a court martial due to alleged desertion or another charge, get the help of the experienced court martial defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein. We help those who are in the Denver and Colorado Springs areas and throughout the country. Contact us today at (303)567-7981 for a free consultation.

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