The military jury trial is not at all similar to what we see in civilian life. The jurors in the military are called “court members” and they are all military personnel. In a General Court-Martial, there are 8 members; in a Special Court-Martial, there are 4 members. All members must be commissioned or warrant officers.
If the accused is an enlisted person, the accused has the right to request that the composition of the court members include at least 1/3 enlisted members, which if so requested, must be senior to the accused and cannot come from the immediate command of the accused. The accused can also request trial and sentencing by a military judge in lieu of trial by members.
In order for a finding of guilty on a charge, at least 3/4 of the members must vote to convict – so if there are 8 members on the panel, if 6 or more members vote for a finding of Guilty, the verdict on that charge is Guilty; if less than 6 members vote for Guilty, the verdict for that charge is Not Guilty.
In a members trial, the accused can elect to be sentenced by the members, or military judge- that election must be made prior to trial. Again, a 3/4 concurrence of the members is required for a sentence.
At McCormack & McCormack, we are proud to defend the legal rights of men and women who have risked their lives to defend the rights of everyday Americans. Call now to schedule a case evaluation with our dedicated military defense attorney.