The Impact of a Government Shut Down on the Military

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Q: Can a government shut-down result in a court-martial?

When civilians hear that a service member needs a skilled court-martial defense attorney, they may think the person is facing the most serious of charges.

They may speculate that the service member was accused of a violent crime or possibly desertion. But there are many other situations that can result in court-martial proceedings. And a government shut-down– especially one that lasts for an extended period of time–may increase the likelihood of a service member facing a court-martial proceeding.

When a government shut-down occurs, servicemembers still have to report to duty during the shutdown but “they will not get paid unless Congress passes a separate piece of legislation to do so”. Not only do they have to report to work, but the government shutdown may impact whether certain on-base childcare centers remain open. Childcare is a difficult issue for as many as 67% of women in the military.

Both of those realities, especially over an extended period of time, could place a servicemember in danger of court-martial. How can this be possible?

According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice “any service member who borrows money and dishonorably fails to pay is in violation and shall be punished by military court”. Reportedly, 1/2 of all military families “have less than $5000 in savings”. For those families who lack a “rainy day” fund, a government shut-down with a prolonged period of no income could put them in jeopardy of a court-martial that carries a possible maximum punishment of six months on confinement. A court-martial conviction can have a disastrous effect on one’s entire military career and future.

Don’t trust your reputation, career, future, and freedom to the often an experienced and overworked free attorney provided by the military trial defense service.

If you are, or believe you might be, facing a military court-martial, the highly skilled court-martial defense attorneys at Elkus, Sisson & Rosenstein will aggressively defend your rights and your honor. Contact us today for a free consultation.

From our offices in Denver and Colorado Springs, we represent service members of all ranks, in all branches, anywhere in the world.

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