By 1806, judge advocates were introduced as a mandatory aspect of courts-martial. Sort of. And only on the prosecution side. Sort of. Military defendants were, though, allowed to hire a civilian lawyer to represent them. Not really. But when they could, the lawyer usually wasn’t allowed to speak. . . .
My latest project has me reading decisions by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces from a select number of terms. A few decisions from the court’s first term, 1951-1952, have caught my attention so far. One in particular helps practitioners and observers understand just why the military justice system takes being a prosecutor (trial counsel) so seriously. Would it surprise you to know that, prior to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) in 1950, it was military custom that the trial judge advocate (prosecutor) also defended the Accused?