From: email@example.com (J.D. Baldwin)
Subject: Re: Adultery and the USAF
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 16:18:32 GMT
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
Stephen M. Ryan <smryan@**umich.edu**> wrote:
>> Any CM be it Summary, Special or General is a felony conviction.
>Whether or not it is a felony depends on the potential sentence for the
>charge, such as confinement for a year or more.
A punitive discharge is a felony conviction, and may be awarded with
zero confinement time. You're basically correct, though, since you
said "potential sentence" and I doubt that there are any offenses for
which a BCD can be given that don't also allow > 1 year confinement.
>You're not going to see any summary courts-martial on felony charges,
>because you can't get confinement for more than a year as a sentence in
>that type of court-martial.
A summary court may be held on felony *charges*, and indeed I have
personally sat as a summary court in more than one such case. But it
CANNOT result in a felony conviction. In these respects it is similar
to Article 15 proceedings, which theoretically may be held for *any*
offense, but do not result in a "conviction."
Also, the max sentence imposable by summary court is 30 days'
confinement, along with some fines whose exact limits I forget. No
reductions in rank possible.
Other fun facts about summary courts-martial:
- a single officer, generally O-3 or above, acts as investigator,
prosecutor, defense, jury and judge; his job is to get to the
bottom of the charges at hand and render a verdict and a
sentence as quickly and fairly as possible
- the standard of proof is "reasonable doubt" on all charges, unlike
Article 15, which is "preponderance of evidence" (or, more
practically, what the CO feels like)
- a guilty plea at a summary court *must* be followed up with a
providency inquiry (in which the accused admits, in some detail,
every element of the offense charged); failure to conduct this
inquiry is one of the very few ways in which it's possible to screw
up a summary court
- an accused has an absolute right to refuse a summary court (exercise
of this right will invariably result in a special court), even an
accused who is attached to a vessel and unable to refuse Article 15
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