In April of this year, retired Major General James J. Grazioplene was charged with six counts of rape of a minor, which he is alleged to have committed in the 1980s while still active duty. In a rare case in August, he was court-martialed by the army–something that hardly ever happens in the military to senior officers.
On August 25, 2017, it was announced that the army would hold a probable-cause hearing for Grazioplene that same weekend. On Saturday, August 26, they gathered to review and debate over evidence suggesting Grazioplene raped a minor six times over a six-year period.
What is a Court-Martial?
A court-martial is a military court. So when someone is court-martialed, they are required to appear in a military court for a trial or proceeding. Military court is different from civilian court in a few ways, including:
- Military court follows the Uniform Code of Military Justice
- Military court processes mutiny, sedition, failure to obey an order, and insubordinate conduct separately. Other crimes like murder and assault violate both military and civilian law.
It’s also important to note that there are three different kinds of court-martial proceedings:
- Summary court-martial- This deals with minor crimes.
- Special court-martial- This court deals with misdemeanor crimes, like drug use and disobeying orders.
- General court-martial- Lastly, this court is used for more serious crimes, like murder and rape.
Outlook of the Case
As of August 27, Grazioplene’s attorney, Thomas Pavlinic says he will contest the charges. As of right now, it is unclear how this case will unfold.
While the events happened roughly 30 years ago, the military has no statute of limitations on rape charges. According to the Washington Post, Congress has pressed the Department of Defense to work over sexual assault cases throughout the military, which may have been what prompted military officials to move forward with the proceedings hearing and investigation. Others say he may have been turned in by an enemy he made along the way. Whatever the case may be, Grazioplene is facing charges that will change his life forever.
How Can a Military Defense Lawyer Help?
In these cases, working with a military defense lawyer will be able to help you by representing you in court, navigating legal issues, and helping you build a strong case. A good military defense lawyer will be knowledgeable about both military and civilian court proceedings, giving you an advantage. If you find yourself in a situation like this, the lawyers at Military Trial Defenders can help.