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Special Court Martial (SPCM)

The convening authority in a SPCM is usually the Brigade Commander or service equivalent. An SPCM differs from a SCM in that it can result in a federal conviction and a Bad Conduct Discharge. Accordingly the accused has a right to be defended by appointed military defense counsel and/or retained private counsel while the government is represented by Trial Counsel. At trial, the Court can consist of a military Judge alone or at least three members in the panel depending on the choice of the accused. The accused also has the right to request enlisted members on the panel.

In general, a SPCM will be convened for SCM or NJP (non-judicial punishment) turn-downs or for lesser charges such as strictly military offenses or minor drug offenses. Unlike a General court martial (GCM), there is no requirement for an Article 32 (or fact-finding) hearing prior to a trial. Once again in general, a military court will endeavor to hold a SPCM much quicker than a GCM as there will be a perceived lesser need for extensive pre-trial investigations. While the MCM authorizes 2 types of SPCMs, for all practical purposes the SPCM commonly used is referred to as a BCD Special.

The maximum penalty in a BCD SPCM, regardless of what is provided for under the punitive article charged, is a bad conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, two-thirds forfeiture of pay for up to 12 months and reduction to E-1. As in all courts martial, the convicted person has the right to present evidence in extenuation and mitigation to lessen the sentence. In many cases, even if a convicted person is retained in the service by the judge or panel, the conviction alone may trigger an Administrative Separation action which could result in a discharge. Steven Krupa has represented soldiers as detailed military counsel in SPCMs and has served as retained civilian counsel in numerous SPCM actions in Army and Navy Courts. If you are facing a SPCM please contact his office for a consultation.

Tacoma Criminal Defense Attorneys


The team at Krupa & Clark are excited to announce some new changes in our practice.  Steven Krupa will be leaving the firm to explore new opportunities effective June 30, 2020.  As of June 1, 2020, the name of the firm will be changed to the Law Offices of Michael Clark.  The firm will continue to focus on helping people who have been injured through the negligence of others, as well as other matters. The team, and especially Michael Clark, want to thank Steven for his years of dedicated service to his clients and the greater bar association, as well as for his friendship. We are proud of our association with Steve and look forward to seeing what the next chapter has in store for him.

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