DSO - Summary Court-Martial
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Twentynine Palms, California
Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command and Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center


You Have the Right to

  • Object to SCM
  • Inspect papers and personnel records used during SCM
  • Remain silent or testify concerning the offense
  • Cross-examine witnesses
  • Plead guilty or not guilty
  • Make a sworn or unsworn statement
    • In extenuation (if pleading guilty, this is a good reason why you did it)
    • In mitigation (if pleading guilty, this is a reason why the CO should lessen your punishment)
  • Have witnesses appear on your behalf
    • On the merits of the offense, OR
    • As good character witnesses
  • Submit written matters to the convening authority (e.g. clemency recommendations) after a sentence is announced (see R.C.M. 1105)

If You Refuse Summary Court-Martial

  • Charges may be dropped,
  • Administrative action may be taken (page 11 counseling, administrative separation, non-punitive letter of caution, etc.), or
  • Charges may be referred to a Special Court-Martial. Compare the difference:

Max Punishment: Summary Court-Martial
Confinement: 30 days (E-4 and below)
Restriction: 60 days (E-5 and below)
Forfeitures: 2/3 pay for 1 month
E-4 and below: E-1 
E-5 and above: 1 pay grade.

Max Punishment: Special Court-Martial
Confinement: 12 months
Forfeitures: 2/3 pay for 12 months
Reduction: to E-1
Discharge: Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD)

Making Your Case: Personal & Character Statements

Before you come in for summary court-martial counseling, think about what you will say and what others might say in your behalf. If you plan to make a statement, start work on it and bring it with you when you come in for counseling. If you plan to ask anyone else to be a witness, notify them and ask them if they are willing to be a witness for you. Here’s some guidance on making statements and preparing character witnesses:

Your Personal Statement

Request for and Outline of Character Statement (specifically designed to be submitted in writing at court-martial)


Manual for Courts-Martial

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms