Monday, July 8, 2013

Military vs. Civilian Juries

Here is an interesting article that highlights a few differences between military and civilian juries.  This article is especially relevant in light of MAJ Nidal Malik Hasan's upcoming death penalty trial which is scheduled to begin tomorrow.  As some may recall, MAJ Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and injuring 30 others during a shooting rampage at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009.
For prior blog posts about military juries go here and here.

Policymic:  5 Ways a Military Trial Is Different From a Civilian One
Anyone who has had the joy of receiving a jury summons knows how the process goes, and everyone else has a basic understanding: under the Constitution, American citizens have the right to be judged by a jury of their peers. One of the grievances listed in the Declaration of Independence was about King George III "depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury." Juries usually consist of 12 jurors.

Military juries, however, are a different beast. Members are typically only commissioned military officers, though the accused has the option of requesting enlisted personnel in the member pool. A military jury does not need to be made up of 12 members; it can range from as few as three to as great as a dozen depending on the type of court-martial. In a capital case like the Fort Hood shooting, where the death penalty is sought, the jury must consist of 12 members (this is a relatively new requirement, only added to the UCMJ via an NDAA provision in the last decade). Hasan's panel will have 12 members and four alternates, and will consist of officers who outrank him.