Five Things Every Barracks Lawyer Needs to Know About NJP/Captain’s Mast

NJP Captain's Mast
When speaking to a defense attorney (#3), also ask what the likelihood is that the command will pursue a court-martial if you refuse NJP. For many low-level offenses, if you refuse NJP, the command is very unlikely to go forward with a court-martial as it wouldn’t be worth the time, expense, or manpower. Definitely explore this NJP refusal option with the defense attorney. During my time as a Marine Corps defense counsel at Camp Pendleton, our default advice was to refuse NJP. Even if the command decided to go forward with a court-martial, it was almost always possible to get them to agree to a pretrial agreement bringing the case back to NJP.

In the near future however, the Military Justice Act of 2016 will take effect and convening authorities will have the option to send low level cases to judge alone trials. This will save time, money, and manpower (no need to appoint a member/jury panel) so your commander will be more likely to use this type of trial in response to an NJP refusal.

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