Counsel For Volunteers, No JAG, cf. 40.098

evought's picture

No JAG: One of the key differences between ourselves and any larger military or para-military organization is that we do not have any equivalent of a JAG (Judge Advocate General) Office, no dedicated corps of attorneys to act as judges or representatives. Almost all discipline must therefore occur within the chain-of-command, formal process must be simplified, and cannot take volunteers too long away from their regular duties. A year-long General Courts Martial is simply not an option.

Appointed Counsel: As a matter of fairness, a volunteer undergoing a disciplinary process should have access to counsel to advocate for them and help them understand that process. Such counsel shall consist of an active or retired officer or NCO. However, the restrictions in RsMo 40.098 apply that such an advocate may not be involved in prosecution, witness for the prosecution, etc. in the same matter. In a small unit, there may be no such officer or NCO available. In that event, the accused and command staff shall jointly request the assistance of an eminent member of the community to advocate for the accused. Command staff shall cooperate fully with the advocate to provide information needed for a proper defense and to come to agreement on fair procedures.

Attorney Not Required: The requirement in 40.098 that an appointed advocate be an attorney and specially qualified for the task shall not applied. A volunteer may always obtain their own attorney to advise or represent them at their own expense.