Why Does the Military Require its Own Court System?

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Military members standing in front of the horizon.

One of the most commonly asked questions that we hear is why the military requires its own court system. There are many reasons as to why the system has been laid out as it has. A big reason for this is logistics.

For those who are on active duty and are serving overseas, if they were to be charged with a crime and the military did not have its own court system, the only two options would be to either follow the legal system of the country in which they are currently serving or to be sent back to the U.S. Neither of these options is ideal for many reasons.

The Realities of Military Life

Without its own court system, the military would have a very difficult time with operating outside of our country. It would prove very challenging to get anything done if the military had to work around the civilian court system. By having a court system assigned to it, the system is able to work around the military’s schedule and take what is necessary into consideration – not the other way around. 

The U.S. military has had separate laws in place to govern its body since before the American Revolution. Then, after the end of the Revolution, the language was included in Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, which officially allowed Congress to “make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.” The military has taken this very seriously. 

The Uniform Code of Military Justice

The laws governing the U.S. military are known as the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and were most recently re-written in the 1950s. Some of the crimes that are laid out in the UCMJ are also civilian crimes (e.g assault). However, the UCMJ has certain crimes specific to the military (e.g. failure to obey orders), making it difficult for civilian courts to oversee them. 

While there are many differences between military courts and civilian courts, under either system the U.S. Supreme Court reigns, well, supreme. The Supreme Court governs and protects both court systems. As with civilian court, all military appeals can go up to the Supreme Court to be heard. 

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

With an interest in shying away from negative publicity of its military service members, often the U.S. Government will attempt to obtain a conviction as soon as possible. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney.  

If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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