Law Enforcement Specialties >> Military Law Enforcement >> Civilian vs Military Justice System: How do they compare?

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Civilian vs Military Justice System: How do they compare?

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Jsoc_max50

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Posted 12 months ago

 

When I was in high school, before I learned that the military even had lawyers, I believed commanders imposed punishment on the spot without so much as attempting to get the other side of the story. I blame television! I now know that was totally wrong. But, in my own defense, I let myself be misled by Hollywood's portrayal of the military justice system where it seemed everybody ended up in the stockade without a hint of due process.


Fortunately, I quickly learned my impression was misinformed. What I now know for sure is that the military justice system guarantees servicemembers all the rights and privileges afforded to people facing prosecution in civilian courts. In fact, the Uniform Code of Military Justice ensures that servicemembers have more protections than civilians in many ways, including rights advisement and the pretrial investigation process.


Before I could understand how the UCMJ could possibly be more protective of a person's rights than the civilian justice system, I had to first learn when the military had jurisdiction over a service member, as opposed to the member being subject to the "downtown" court system. Unlike state criminal jurisdiction, which is based on the location where the alleged crime occurred, military jurisdiction sticks to the person, not the place. So any military member on active duty, no matter where she is located, is subject to the UCMJ.


One of the most notable differences between the two justice systems is when rights advisements are triggered. In the civilian system, Miranda warnings are given before a person is questioned about their possible involvement with a crime and when the person is in custody. In the military system, UCMJ, Article 31 rights apply before a person is taken into custody and when a person is suspected of committing an UCMJ offense. So, a service member under the military justice system is advised of her rights to an attorney and told what UCMJ violation she is suspected of committing, in most incidents, way before she would receive her Miranda warnings in the civilian system.


In spite of my early AMC schooling, I learned that the due process built into the military trial process ensures the accused's rights are protected. Although both systems include pretrial hearings, only the accused in the military's Article 32, UCMJ, hearing is allowed, through her attorney, to request witnesses and question them on the stand during the hearing. Also, all relevant evidence under the government's control, and reasonably available, will be presented at the Article 32 hearing. In a grand jury hearing, which is the civilian system's pretrial hearing, only the judge questions the witnesses and the government isn't required to present all their evidence.


From the trial itself through the appellate process, the military justice system provides fundamental due process guarantees that ensure fairness. The full truth of how, and to what extent, the military justice system zealously protects individual rights is a far cry from what I thought I learned from Hollywood. And, by the way, I word searched the UCMJ and couldn't find the word "stockade" anywhere!

Just_passin__thru_max50

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Rate This | Posted 12 months ago

 

No, you will not find the word 'stockade' anywhere in the UCMJ. But you will find the word 'confinement'. And 'Miranda-type admonishments are in the UCMJ.



Kaffee: Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the mess hall is, please.


Cpl Barnes: Well, Lt. Kaffee, that's not in the book, sir.


Kaffee: You mean to say in all your time at Gitmo you've never had a meal?


Cpl Barnes: No sir, three squares a day, sir.


Kaffee: I don't understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it's not in this book?


Cpl. Barnes: Well, I guess I just followed the crowd at chow time, sir.


Kaffee: No more questions.


(A Few Good Men, 1992)




More importantly, civilian law and military law have a very nice brightline. Everyone akcnowledges double jeopardy and tries their best to steer clear of it.


 


 


 


 


 


The Guy !
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Giu-turkey-distribution-004-801_max50

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Rate This | Posted 12 months ago

 

Bump Sarge!  The key is double jeopardy, the civilian system can get you and the military get you to for the same offense! You may be found innocent in one and guilty in the other!


“The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.”

Female_bodysurfer_max50

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Rate This | Posted 12 months ago

 

Thank you, FFC, for your fascinating topic!  I would love to read more!

Silver_warrior_max50

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Rate This | Posted 12 months ago

 

MarlyB says ...



Thank you, FFC, for your fascinating topic!  I would love to read more!



More, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more, more. . . . . . .how much "more" do you want????


BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA. . . . . . . .!!!!!!


I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people and I expect the same from them.

John Bernard Books, from "The Shootist"

736335_max50

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Rate This | Posted 11 months ago

 

The reason we have to advise them of their article 31 rights so soon is a civilian can get up and walk away if they are not being detained, under the military system because of the rank and discipline the individual feels like they cant leave the interview. for example if gunny is talking to a PFC without being officially  detained he still would feel he is not allowed to just walk away when gunny is talking to him

Photo_user_blank_big

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Rate This | Posted 11 months ago

 

Sarge hit it on the head -- 20 years active duty as a Military Police and now 22 years a deputy sheriff...

736335_max50

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Rate This | Posted 11 months ago

 

yes but I have to disagree with his statement that they try to stay away from double jeopardy, you can be stopped off base charged and convicted for DUI then return to base and they will get you for article 92 failure to obey a lawful order because they said don't drink and drive so your really  being punished twice for one DUI

Eagle_and_flag_max50

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Rate This | Posted 11 months ago

 

snhadley says ...



Bump Sarge!  The key is double jeopardy, the civilian system can get you and the military get you to for the same offense! You may be found innocent in one and guilty in the other!



Back in the dark ages when I was on Active Duty, the Military wouldn't charge you with the same crime as the Civilian Authorities would. They would instead charge you with "Conduct Unbecoming..."


In GOD We Trust (All others get searched, then checked through NCIC)

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Giu-turkey-distribution-004-801_max50

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Rate This | Posted 11 months ago

 

36TR says ...



snhadley says ...



Bump Sarge!  The key is double jeopardy, the civilian system can get you and the military get you to for the same offense! You may be found innocent in one and guilty in the other!



Back in the dark ages when I was on Active Duty, the Military wouldn't charge you with the same crime as the Civilian Authorities would. They would instead charge you with "Conduct Unbecoming..."



Tim,


It all depended on who the soldier was, no matter what the crime was.  As a retired Army 1SG trust me on that.


“The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.”