Military Justice System

Military Justice System in the United States

Court established for proceedings involving military personnel. The military justice system is provided for in the Code of Military Justice. The code also defines offenses and punishments, and it sets forth the procedural standards and due process safeguards that apply to defendants. The central element in the system is the court-martial, a tribunal in which prosecution of military personnel accused of crimes takes place. The system also contains a Court of Military Review, which provides automatic review of any court-martial cases where the sentence is confinement of at least a year. In addition, there is the United States Court of Military Appeals, which was established by Congress to review certain cases from the military justice system and is composed of three civilian judges. Congress recently authorized that cases from the Court of Military Appeals be reviewed by the Supreme Court on direct appeal.

See Also

united states court of military appeals, 75.

Analysis and Relevance

The military justice system has jurisdiction over American military personnel under virtually any circumstance. It parallels the civilian Judiciary (U.S.) and is governed by the Code of Military Justice. Concerns about both the substantive and procedural fairness of the military justice system led Congress to adopt a new and more comprehensive code in 1950. The revised code contains more extensive procedural safeguards than previously and provides to those undergoing court-martial many, though not all, of the constitutional protections afforded civilians. Appellate review was also made more extensive so that no sentence of a court-martial more severe than a year’s incarceration may be executed unless the findings and sentence are affirmed by the Court of Military Review. Major issues concerning the military justice system involve questions of military versus civilian jurisdiction and the rights of military defendants.

Notes and References

  1. Definition of Military Justice System from the American Law Dictionary, 1991, California

Military Justice System: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Military Justice System. This part provides references, in relation to Military Justice System, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Military Justice System by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Military Justice System and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Military Justice System or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Military Justice System and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Military Justice System. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Military Justice System should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Military Justice System when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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