Dear YANK:

jag court

Insignia of the Army Judge Advocate General

I should like to suggest some changes in the Articles of War and other punitive military regulations which are required for the protection of enlisted men against unfair or arbitrary actions of officers. Some of the more obvious amendments should be following:

1)      EM shall be tried by a court consisting of EM only. At the least, a mixed court of officers and enlisted men should sit in such cases.

2)      No officer on the command staff of a base or other station shall sit on a court martial.

3)      No officer connected in any way whatsoever with the bringing of charges or preparations of the charge sheet shall act as a summary court to try men.

4)      Rights of military personnel shall be fully explained to them in each reading of the Articles of War. AW 17 (accused’s right to counsel of his own selection), AW 24 (privilege against self-incrimination), AWs 69 and 70 (limitations upon arrest and confinement and rapid action upon charges), AW 104 (limited disciplinary powers of CO) and AW 121 (right to complain of grievances directly to Commanding General) shall be required to be read and fully explained.

5)      No man shall be reduced in rank by administrative action without having first been fully informed of the charges against him and having been given the opportunity to defend himself. Individual counsel familiar with military rules and regulations shall be available to represent such men.

 I regret that there is insufficient space in a letter to elaborate on these points. Nevertheless these amendments should provide some basis for an even break for the enlisted man.

—Cpl. Herbert Robinson – India

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