Is a person facing court martial entitled to a lawyer?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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Yes. All military defendants (technically “accused”) are entitled to be represented by a military defense counsel at no cost. (In fact the military began to provide defense counsel long before civilian criminal courts were required to provide them.)

Military defendants are also entitled to retain a civilian lawyer to represent them at their own expense. Civilian counsel who practice military law are often far more experienced, both in military and trial practice matters, than the free military counsel the service provides them. Civilian counsel also are free of the real pressures and constraints that sometimes makes it difficult for a lawyer in the military to provide the same intensity or type of representation.

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