Your Right to Expert Witnesses in a Court-Martial

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Expert witness being sworn in at a court martial court.

If you need an expert to testify in your defense, the civilian courts require that you pay them – unless you are indigent. If you are poor and unable to pay for an expert witness, the state must take the proper steps to be sure that the defendant is treated fairly. Therefore expert assistance is actually a constitutional due process right in civilian courts. 

In the military, it’s a bit different. The defendant has the right to government-funded expert testimony and assistance regardless of whether or not he or she is indigent. If the prosecution is going to use forensic evidence or expert testimony, the military defense attorney must also seek an expert with similar credentials. 

The Gonzalez Test

However, obtaining an expert witness is not a given, but rather the military defense counsel must prove the need for and relevance of the expert and how he or she can add to the case in a way that the lawyer cannot. This is called the able Gonzalez test. Your military defense attorney must demonstrate:

  1. Why you need the expert;
  2. How the expert plans to help the defense; and
  3. Why the defense counsel is unable to provide the same information that the witness can.

Other Considerations

The court may also consider:

  1. How the use of the expert witness will be more impactful;
  2. How the assistance of the expert can help to combat the evidence presented by the prosecution; and 
  3. How the defense’s expert can assist in proving the defendant’s innocence.

In order to obtain the expert witness that you require and deserve, it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military defense layer. A qualified attorney will be able to provide you with expert assistance, leverage that assistance, properly present the information, and walk you through all steps of the legal process. 

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

When you have been charged with a crime in the military, it can be extremely intimidating and you may not know where to turn and how to defend yourself. 

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. You want to make sure that your rights are fully protected. If you are a military service member (active or reserve) and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, 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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