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NOTE FOR ADMINS: except where you have explicitly railroaded an NCO down a path that ended in them getting disciplined or where the consequences would be unjust and absurd, you should not interfere or intervene.
Courts-martial are the military equivalent of a criminal court - trying serious crimes against the Federation where non-judicial punishment would be inappropriate. Only people who have completed the OOC OCS process are permitted to run courts-martial as they can be put in a position where they could be responsible in sentencing a character to a PK - via execution, a discharge or life imprisonment. This does not restrict the ability of a mission lead to field execute offenders if they threaten the viability of the mission! Offences Our primary source for criminal law is the United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice, with some custom laws that enhance or supersede these where appropriate in the Federal Articles. A note about confinement (brigging) A concerted effort should be made to bring an offender to trial as quickly as possible and, except in capital cases where there is a high OOC likelihood of conviction, a player cannot be confined for longer than 20 minutes pre-trial. Admins are authorized to release/bail any player that has been brigged for longer than 20 minutes pre-trial. This is to prevent bullshit scenarios where a player is held in the brig permanently or over a prolonged period of time. Non-judicial Punishment (NJP) NJPs can be issued by NCOs and officers alike for minor indiscretions - however an NJP can be challenged and the recipient can demand a court-martial instead. Process No formal process - however the recipient can challenge an NJP and demand a court-martial, to be conducted by a separate officer (though they risk facing more severe punishment as a result). Whilst appealing, any prescribed punishment should be deferred until post-appeal where possible. Maximum punishment A demotion of one rank, except if the recipient is a commissioned officer. Beatings, except if the recipient is a commissioned officer. Being ordered to perform extra work - for example, washing the deck. Restriction of privileges - ie. bread & water, no alcohol, etc. Examples of where suitable A Private disrespecting a Corporal or a Sergeant Being stupidly drunk Failure to follow an order (but not insubordination) Summary Court-martial Summary courts-martial are formal trials for offences and are the default form of court-martial except for certain offences that require a general court-martial. Process A summary court-martial involves a defendant, a prosecutor (the non-commissioned or commissioned officer charging the defendant with an offence), and an otherwise independent and uninvolved officer to act as presiding judge. The defendant must represent themself and cannot nominate a representative. The prosecutor will explain their case as to why the defendant committed the offence in question The defendant will counter. Both sides can show evidence or request witnesses to bolster their case. The presiding judge can approve or decline depending on whether they think the evidence is pertinent to the case. The presiding judge will make a judgment - innocent or guilty - and will issue a punishment. Both the defendant and the prosecutor can petition an officer of their service more senior to the presiding judge to hear an appeal. if the appellate agrees to hear their appeal, the process will be repeated. Punishment should be suspended until all appeals are exhausted. You cannot overturn the verdict of an incumbent faction leader - for example, former MI leaders cannot overturn any verdict passed by Cpt. Davidson. The only exception to this is if the officer in question is either an Executive Admin, has been authorized by an XA, or has been authorized by the incumbent leader. If an officer declines to hear an appeal, nobody equal to or junior to or equal in rank to said officer may preside over the case. Officers may preemptively decline or forbid an appeal regardless of whether or not an appeal has been filed with them - for example, if General Larsen forbids an appeal, Captain Davidson cannot then agree to hear that appeal even if it the original presiding officer was Lieutenant Tuuli. Maximum punishment Any punishment that can be prescribed by a NJP, in addition to: Demotion to any rank. If the defendant is a commissioned officer, the lowest they can be demoted is to third lieutenant or equivalent - aka a summary court-martial cannot revoke a commission. Confinement (to the brig, to the ship, or to any other place on-ship or on-base if stationed on the ground) for up to 3 OOC days (9 days IC). If the defendant is a commissioned officer, due respect should be paid to their rank and they should be confined to their quarters with appropriate accommodations unless there is a distinct need to confine the defendant to the brig. Can compel the defendant to perform any action. Lashings Examples of where suitable An act that might otherwise warrant an NJP that has been aggravated, for example through heinousness, repeated incidents, or where the act was has significant consequences. Examples: Calling an officer a cunt. Causing a mission objective to be failed due to incompetence. Most cases of insubordination Threatening violence against a superior. Assault Theft General Court-martial General courts-martial are the most powerful form of court-martial, convened to try only the most serious crimes, with the power to issue almost any punishment up to and including execution. Process A prosecuting commissioned officer calls for a general court-martial. Except where there are security concerns, general courts-martial should be public. A panel of three independent officers are convened to try the defendant. The defendant is entitled to appoint somebody to represent them, but is not entitled for representation to be appointed. The prosecutor will explain their case as to why the defendant committed the offence in question The defendant will counter. Both sides can show evidence or request witnesses to bolster their case. The presiding panel of judge vote to decline to hear a witness if they think the point is proven or the evidence is not pertinent. The panel of judges discuss the facts of the case privately, finding a verdict and if necessary delivering a sentence. The defendant may lodge an appeal to either General Larsen, Colonel Zaiger, or the Fleet Captain. Maximum punishment Any punishment that can be prescribed by an NJP or a summary court-martial; The temporary or permanent revocation of a commissioned officer's commission; Confinement on ship to any area up to 1 OOC month. Confinement to a federal penitentiary off ship (effectively TKs) for any duration including life. Death by hanging, firing squad, or any method not cruel and unusual. Examples of where suitable Murder, attempted murder, or conspiracy to commit murder. Treason, sedition, sabotage, or mutiny. An aggravated act or omission that leads to the failure of an objective critical to Federation interests. An aggravated act or omission that leads to the death of a fellow trooper.