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Court-martial

The Uniform Code of Military Justice [UCMJ] provides for three types of courts-martial. Usually, the most complex and serious cases are tried at general court-martial, less serious offenses are tried at special courts-martial, and the most minor offenses are tried at summary courts-martial.

Attorney Mike Coco has defended many clients in all three types of court-martial. He has tried cases involving murder, manslaughter, homicide, rape, sexual assault, aggravated assault, computer and internet crimes (pornography), drug offenses of all types, espionage, classified cases, and financial crimes. There are very few crimes listed in the UCMJ that have not been the subject of courts-martial that Mike has been involved in. Mike has tried hundreds of cases as a military judge, defense counsel, and prosecutor.

General courts-martial are usually the forum for cases in which a dishonorable discharges or a dismissal are possible. This is the usual forum for murders, sexual assaults, crimes against children, or any other serious offense. Even if the offenses are not relatively serious, almost all officer cases are tried at this level as other forums have limitations on the punishments the court can adjudge. If you are facing a general court-martial, you may potential lose your career, your freedom, your rank, your money, and possibly even your retirement.

Special courts-martial are the forum choice when the offenses are not as serious. This forum limits potential punishments to one year in jail, a bad conduct discharge, reduction to the lowest enlisted grade and forfeiture of two thirds of pay per months for 12 months. Other punishments are possible. Officers rarely are tried in this forum as they cannot receive many of the punishments allowed in this forum.

Summary courts-martial are for the minor offenses and do not require a military judge to preside over the trial. This forum may be used when a commander desires a quick resolution to an issue. The punishments are restricted to 30 day in jail and no punitive discharge is authorized.

If facing a court-martial, a potential client must be sure they have all the tools available to defend against the power of the United State government. An accused must ensure that he has counsel that understands the system and can fight for their client’s rights. You may have a right to expert witnesses or to have certain witnesses present to provide the best possible defense. After years of trying cases, Mike has that experience and knows how to fight for what you are entitled to.


The notable cases and other experience noted on this website are representative samples of past cases. However, nothing in this website should be construed as a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the results of any particular future case. Each case is dependent on different facts, and therefore, no one can predict the outcome of any particular case.

The information on this website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on any page of this website, e-mails, or any other form of communication is intended as, nor should be taken as, legal advice. This information on this website is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, and receipt or viewing of information, does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

Law Office of Michael J. Coco, P.A. is owned by Attorney Michael J. Coco. He is a member in good standing of the State Bar of California and has been admitted to practice in the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces