Tacoma Special Court Martial Lawyer

SPCM Matters in Pierce County & Western Washington

The convening authority in a SPCM is usually the Brigade Commander or service equivalent. An SPCM differs from an SCM in that it can result in a federal conviction and a Bad Conduct Discharge. Accordingly, the accused has a right to be defended by appointed military defense counsel and/or retained private Tacoma criminal defense attorney while the government is represented by trial counsel.

At trial, the Court can consist of a military Judge alone or at least three members in the panel depending on the choice of the accused. The accused also has the right to request enlisted members on the panel.

What Is an SPCM?

In general, a SPCM will be convened for SCM or NJP (non-judicial punishment) turn-downs or for lesser charges such as strictly military offenses or minor drug offenses.

Unlike a general court martial (GCM), there is no requirement for an Article 32 (or fact-finding) hearing prior to a trial. Once again in general, a military court will endeavor to hold a SPCM much quicker than a GCM as there will be a perceived lesser need for extensive pre-trial investigations. While the MCM authorizes 2 types of SPCMs, for all practical purposes the SPCM commonly used is referred to as a BCD Special.

Possible Penalties

The maximum penalty in a BCD SPCM, regardless of what is provided for under the punitive article charged, is a bad conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, two-thirds forfeiture of pay for up to 12 months and reduction to E-1.

As in all courts martial, the convicted person has the right to present evidence in extenuation and mitigation to lessen the sentence. In many cases, even if a convicted person is retained in the service by the judge or panel, the conviction alone may trigger an Administrative Separation action which could result in a discharge.

Tacoma military criminal defense lawyer Steven Krupa has represented soldiers as detailed military counsel in SPCMs and has served as retained civilian counsel in numerous SPCM actions in Army and Navy Courts.

If you are facing a SPCM please contact The Law Offices of Krupa & Clark for a free consultation with our Tacoma criminal defense attorneys.

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