“Law and order exist… [to establish] …justice and that when they fail in this purpose, they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
This quotation by Martin Luther King, Jr. highlights the reason for law and order. For without the establishment of law and order in any country in the world, anarchy reigns. However, the abuse of power and the failure to uphold the human rights principles enshrined in the country’s legal system is akin to a poorly constructed dam that prevents the discharge of social justice.
And, the people that uphold or enforce law and order are the state and federal police as well as criminal court judges. However, they are limited in the decisions that they make by the Law of the United States, which in turn, is underpinned by the US Constitution. Succinctly stated, the Constitution “sets out the boundaries of federal law.”
What is military law?
Most sectors of society, including government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private citizens fall under US law as defined by the Constitution. However, the military has its own laws. By way of explanation, military.com states that the “backbone of the military legal system is the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”
The next question that might be asked is: Why do the military have their own justice system? Why don’t they fall under the laws set out by the Constitution?
The succinct answer to this question is that many of the crimes set out in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) have no civilian equivalent. For example, in the military criticizing senior officers is a crime; however, in the civilian criminal justice system, it is considered the right to the freedom of speech.
Now that we have a clear understanding of the difference between the civilian and the military rule of law, let’s look at raison d’etre for why you might need to hire a specialist court martial lawyer.
Reasons to employ a military justice lawyer
The first and foremost reason for hiring a military attorney is that you are an active duty serving member in the military and need legal representation at a court-martial. In fact, as highlighted above, you will only need an army lawyer if you are currently are in the military.
However, as with the civilian criminal justice system, you would only need legal representation if you have been charged with a crime, no matter how minor the offense is, that you may or may not have committed. It’s essential to note at this juncture that, when accused of an alleged crime and you are in the military, you have as much right to a defense attorney as you would in the civilian court.
Finally, some of the other reasons for needing legal representation while serving in the military are if you’ve found yourself on the wrong end of an equal opportunity appointment, your military records are incorrect, and your last performance evaluation was unnecessarily negative. Both a currently serving member of the JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) corps and a UCMJ lawyer can assist you with the defense and correction of these issues.