Kadena Air Base is a United States Air Force installation in Kadena, Okinawa, Japan. Known as the “Keystone of the Pacific,” this base has been held by the Air Force since the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The Kadena Air Base serves as the home to both the 18th Wing and the 353rd Special Operations Group. If you are facing disciplinary charges while serving at Kadena Air Base, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain today.
Types of Military Discipline at Kadena Air Base
There are two common forms of military justice used at Kadena Air Base: nonjudicial punishment and trial by court-martial. Both forms of justice are different but carry serious consequences.
One common form of military justice is known as nonjudicial punishment. Also known as NJP or Article 15, this form of administrative proceeding could have severe consequences. Initiated by your commanding officer, this informal proceeding lacks the formality of a criminal trial. If you are convicted, you have the right to an appeal. However, the appeal will be heard up the chain of command as opposed to in an appellate court.
You have the right to reject nonjudicial punishment and demand a trial by court-martial. While a court-martial carries more severe penalties than Article 15, it also has some advantages. A court-martial might make sense if you have concerns about getting a fair hearing from your commanding officer.
The choice to reject NJP is important. Discuss your options with an experienced civilian defense counsel before making a decision.
A trial by court-martial differs from NJP in that it is a criminal proceeding. If you are convicted at trial, your permanent record will reflect a conviction long after your military service ends. A military judge will oversee your trial and enforce a strict set of rules regarding the admission of evidence.
If you are convicted at a trial by court-martial, you have the right to appeal the decision. With some charges, an appeal will occur automatically. There are two appellate courts that hear appeals from Air Force trials by court-martial: the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals or the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Common Offenses at Kadena Air Base
Any violation of the UCMJ could result in a trial by court-martial. However, lesser offenses often result in NJP instead. Some common offenses are listed below.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
The penalties from a trial by court-martial or NJP can both include restrictions, loss of pay, loss of rank, or extra duties. For serious charges, a court-martial could also carry the risk of confinement or a punitive discharge. Unfortunately, any conviction could also lead to separation proceedings from the Air Force. Thankfully, you could avoid these consequences with the help of legal counsel.
Your Right to Civilian Defense Counsel
Regardless of the charges you face, you are entitled to hire the civilian defense counsel of your choice. To discuss your defense options, call attorney and retired military judge Patrick J. McLain and attorney E. Allen Chandler right away.