What does a military jury trial consist of?
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 must be at least 5 members; in a Special Court-Martial, there must be at least 3 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. In order for a finding of guilty on a charge, at least 2/3 of the members must vote to convict – so if there are 9 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. If the accused is convicted on any charge, the members will also determine the sentence. Again, a 2/3 concurrence is required for a sentence, except if the sentence is for more than 10 years, which requires a 3/4 concurrence. The accused can request trial by military judge in lieu of trial by jury.
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