Contention That Nonjudicial Punishment Was Improperly Imposed

B-194265: Apr 2, 1979

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The plaintiff, a Navy enlisted man, alleged that he was improperly subjected to nonjudicial punishment. He was accused of possessing a narcotic substance and his punishment included a reduction in grade and forfeiture of one-half of his pay for a period of 2 months. The plaintiff contended that military authorities lacked jurisdiction over the offense, he was not allowed to inspect all of the evidence against him, and he was denied the assistance of legal counsel. However, an off-post offense committed in a foreign country by a service member is subject to trial by court-martial. Nonjudicial punishment actions and summary court-martials are administrative proceedings in which the accused has no constitutional right to counsel. In addition, there was little merit to the plaintiff's contention that military authorities may not lawfully dispose of drug-related offenses or offenses involving the disobedience of regulations through nonjudicial punishment.