A major training base for the Air Education and Training Command, Luke Air Force Base has been in service since 1941. The base, better known as Luke AFB, is operated by the United States Air Force. Luke AFB is named after famous World War I Second Lieutenant Frank Luke, Jr., known as the “Arizona Balloon Buster” for shooting down 18 observational balloons during the war. If you serve at Luke AFB and are facing military discipline proceedings, you are entitled to hire your choice of a civilian defense attorney.
Types of Military Justice at Luke AFB
There are two types of military discipline commonly used at Luke AFB:
- Nonjudicial Punishment; and
- Trial by Court-Martial.
Nonjudicial Punishment is a form of administrative military discipline used by the U.S. Air Force. In the Air Force, these proceedings are informally known as Article 15. Although these are administrative hearings as opposed to formal criminal proceedings, you could still face lasting consequences upon conviction. Nonjudicial punishment is initiated and overseen by your commanding officer. These proceedings are not a formal trial and do not follow the same set of rules that control a trial by court-martial.
You have the right to reject nonjudicial punishment in favor of a trial by court-martial. While the penalties in Article 15 are typically less severe than a court-martial, there are some circumstances where a formal trial is more favorable than an NJP. You should always consult legal counsel before accepting or rejecting an NJP.
A trial by court-martial, unlike an NJP, is a formal criminal hearing. If convicted, your criminal record will show a conviction even after your military career is over. A military judge oversees a trial by court-martial, and the rules related to evidence and witnesses are far more restrictive.
If you are convicted, you have the right to appeal your case. In fact, many convictions will automatically result in appellate review. The two dedicated appellate courts that hear Air Force court-martial are:
- the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals; and
- the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
Just like an Article 15 proceeding, you have the right to a civilian defense attorney at every stage of your appeal.
Common Offenses at Luke AFB
While any violation of the UCMJ could result in a court-martial proceeding at Luke AFB, there are some offenses more commonly dealt with through nonjudicial punishment.
Common NJP Offenses
- Unauthorized absence (AWOL)
- Drunk on duty
- Violation of orders
- Destroying government property
Common Court-Martial Offenses
The penalties for either an NJP or a trial by court-martial could include:
- Loss of pay
- Extra duties, and
- Loss of rank.
Additionally, a conviction at trial by court-martial can also result in incarceration or discharge.
Call a Luke AFB Civilian Defense Lawyer
If you are facing the possibility of an NJP or court-martial conviction, contact attorney Patrick J. McLain today. A retired Marine Corps judge, Patrick J. McLain is dedicated to defending the rights of airmen across the country.