Military Law: The Servicemen's Gideon?

Every American accused of a crime has a right to counsel at his trial. And if he cannot afford a lawyer, ruled the Supreme Court in Gideon v. Wain-bright (1963), one must be supplied by the court.

Gideon clearly covers civilians, but what about U.S. servicemen? The Uniform Code of Military Justice requires trained lawyers at general courts-martial, which try major offenses. But special courts-martial, though they can mete out six months' confinement, require only "counsel," which means, under the code, that the defendant gets a lawyer only if the prosecutor is a...

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