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Barksdale Airmen face courts-martial

By Tech. Sgt. Jenalyn V. Owens 2nd Bomb Wing Staff Judge Advocate office

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For the third quarter of 2013, the 2nd Bomb Wing Staff Judge Advocate office convened three courts martial cases involving Barksdale Airmen.

The cases, ranging from rape to distribution of controlled substance, are as follows:

Aug. 30, 2013, a General Court-Martial found a technical sergeant from the 2nd Force Support Squadron not guilty of rape in violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The technical sergeant was tried by a jury of officers and was acquitted.

June 5, 2013, a Special Court-Martial found a senior airman from the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron guilty of wrongful use of controlled substances (marijuana and amphetamine) and distribution of controlled substances (marijuana and amphetamine) in violation of Article 112a of the UCMJ. The senior airman was convicted by a military judge and sentenced to reduction in grade to E-1, two months confinement and a bad conduct discharge.

July 1, 2013, a Special Court-Martial found an airman first class from the 2nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron not guilty of wrongful distribution of a controlled substance (amphetamine) in violation of Article 112a of the UCMJ. The senior airman was tried by a jury of officers and was acquitted.

A Special Court-Martial is at the intermediate court-level and consists of a military judge, trial counsel (prosecutor), defense counsel and a minimum of three officers sitting as a panel of court members (the jury). An accused enlisted Airman may request a court composed of at least one-third enlisted personnel. The accused may also request trial by judge alone. Regardless of the offenses involved, a special court-martial sentence is limited to a bad conduct discharge, confinement for up to twelve months, reduction in pay grade to E-1 (enlisted members only), and forfeiture of two-thirds base pay per-month for a period of twelve months or an equivalent fine. An officer accused in a special court-martial cannot be dismissed from the service or confined.

A General Court-Martial is the most serious level of military court. It consists of a military judge, trial counsel, defense counsel and at least five court members. Again, an accused enlisted Airman may request a court composed of at least one-third enlisted personnel. Unless the case is one in which the death sentence could be adjudged, an officer or enlisted accused may also request trial by judge alone. In a general court-martial, the maximum punishment is that established for each offense under the Manual for Courts-Martial and may include death, confinement, a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge for enlisted personnel, a dismissal for officers or a number of other lesser forms of punishment. A pretrial investigation under Article 32, Uniform Code of Military Justice, must be conducted before a case may be referred to a general court-martial unless waived by the accused.