refuse such trial and demand a special court-martial. Note that any person may refuse both an
Article 15 and a summary court-martial and demand trial by special court-martial.
15. Special Court-Martial. The convening authority for special court-martial is any person
who may convene a general court-martial, a brigade commander, or any commander given the
power by the secretary of the concerned service. When special court-martial convening authority
receives a charge sheet, several options are open to him. He may dismiss the charges, take
administrative action, offer an Article 15, convene a summary court, or convene a special court-
16. Membership on the court may be made up as follows:
a. A military judge and not less than three members. The military judge is both an officer
and a qualified lawyer that is certified to be qualified for duty as a military judge by the judge
advocate general of the Army. It is not an absolute requirement that a military judge is a member of
every special court-martial, but in most cases, a military judge is detailed to the trial. The three
members of the court are normally commissioned officers. However, if before the trial, the accused
requests that enlisted personnel serve on the court, then at least one-third of the court must be
b. Only a military judge. If the accused so requests, he may be tried by a military judge
without the remaining members of the court.
c. Not less than three members. If a military judge has not been detailed to the case, three
or more members make up the membership of the court. As previously stated, whenever possible, a
military judge is assigned to each special court-martial.
17. Any person subject to the code may be tried by a special court-martial. The accused has
an absolute right to have a detailed defense counsel or a military lawyer of his own selection, if
reasonably available. The accused may hire a civilian attorney at his own expense and have the
military lawyer act as assistant counsel or be dismissed.
18. Maximum punishment that may be given by a special court-martial for enlisted personnel
is 6 months confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of a month's pay for 6 months, and reduction to
E1. Normally a punitive discharge will not be given. Only when the following special requirements
are met, may a bad conduct discharge be given:
a. A military judge must be detailed.
b. A qualified attorney must represent the accused.
c. A verbatim (word-for-word) record of the trial must be taken.
d. The convening authority must exercise general court-martial convening authority
19. Article 32 Investigation. If the special court-martial convening authority decides that
dismissal of the charges, administrative proceedings, Article 15, summary court-martial, or special