A Brief History of the Military Defense Counsel

My recent transition from prosecution to defense has prompted some reflection on the role of the military defense counsel within the military justice system. Students of state and federal criminal procedure and constitutional law know that it was not until 1963 that the Supreme Court of the United States declared the Sixth Amendment guaranteed an indigent individual the right to representation by a court appointed attorney and the Fourteenth Amendment extended that right to state judicial systems. The evolution of the right to an appointed attorney in the military justice system, without regard to indigence, however, has received far less scholarly and journalistic—let alone judicial—attention. And it’s a story worth telling.

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