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Nonjudicial
Punishment (NJP)
1
Purpose of NJP
• Commander’s tool for
maintaining good
order and discipline
• Promotes behavior
change in servicemembers without
courts-martial
U.S. Marine Recruiting Poster
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Purpose is Prompt, Visible
Discipline - Not Criminal
Conviction
• Hearing before CO
• Due Process protection
complies with modern
norms
• Procedure is less
formal
Punishment on board USS Cyane – mid 1800s
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Who Imposes NJP?
• Commanding Officers
• Officers-in-Charge
U.S. Marine General Officers
4
NJP Authority
• No one junior to CO or OIC may
impose
• Not delegable
– CO’s duty to ensure fair treatment of his
subordinates
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Limitations of Superior
Commanders
• Cannot direct a
subordinate commander to
impose NJP
• Cannot influence which
offenses should be
disposed of under NJP
• Retains authority to take a
case to his/her level for
disposition
General Patton
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Joint Duty
-Members of different
services are assigned to same
unit
-Generally NJP authority is
retained by a superior of the
same branch
-Personnel may be returned to their
parent service for NJP
NATO Allied Joint Forces Command
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Offenses Punishable at NJP
• Designed for Minor offenses
• Generally - Offenses not punishable
by:
– Confinement for more than one year
– Dishonorable Discharge
8
Former Punishment
• NJP may be considered former
punishment
– NJP cannot be imposed for same misconduct
more than once
• If subsequently court-martialed for
same offense, NJP punishment is
credited against the court-martial
sentence
9
Civilian Action and NJP
• Military may punish member for
misconduct where:
– civilian punishment imposed was
exceptionally light
– civilian punishment is impracticable for
continued military service
– where unique military interest exists
10
Notification and NJP
• Service member shall be
informed in writing of:
–
–
–
–
charges against him or her
the fact that NJP is being considered
a summary of the evidence
the maximum NJP punishments
possible
– the right to refuse NJP
-The right to speak to a military
attorney
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Refusal of NJP
• May leave courts-martial
as only alternative
• Is not a right to demand
trial by courts-martial
• Right to refuse expires
upon imposition of NJP
punishment
– Members on ships may
not refuse NJP
12
Rights at Hearing
• To be present and personally present case
to the CO
• To remain silent, anything said at NJP
may be used later at courts-martial
• A personal representative, though not
necessarily a lawyer
13
Rights at Hearing
• To be informed of and
allowed to examine all
evidence to be considered
• To be allowed to speak and
present witnesses
14
Civilian Witnesses
• Must be reasonably available
• CO has no power to require civilian’s
attendance
Civilian Witness providing testimony
15
Administrative Matters
• NJP Guide
– used by CO’s when conducting NJP
• Military Rules of Evidence
– do not apply at NJP
• Standard of Proof
– Depends on the service
• U.S. Army – “beyond reasonable doubt”
• U.S. Navy – “preponderance of the evidence”
16
Publication of NJP Results
• Posting of results in
common area of unit
• If for military
personnel only, may
be published fully
• If civilians have
access to information,
names must be
removed
• NJP is a military
offense, not for public
record
17
CO Options at Hearing
• CO chooses and
announces punishment
at the hearing
• Impose NJP
• Refer charges to courtsmartial
• Postpone imposition of
punishment
Commanding Officer announces
NJP punishment
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Punishments
•
•
•
•
•
•
Admonition
Reprimand
Reduction in rate and pay
Forfeiture of pay
Loss of liberty
Extra Military Instruction
(EMI)
• NO Prison Confinement
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Basis for Maximum Punishments
• Grade of imposing officer
• Rank of service member (officer or enlisted)
• Whether it is a ship or shore command
– bread & water may not be imposed on shore
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Clemency and Corrective Action
• A member’s commander or reviewing
superior commander may:
– SET ASIDE NJP
• removes finding from member’s record
• exercised when there is clear injustice
• must take place within reasonable time frame
– ORDER UNEXECUTED PORTIONS OF
PUNISHMENT TO BE CANCELLED
21
• A member’s commander or reviewing
superior commander may also :
– Reduce punishment
– Suspend all or part of the punishment
• These actions must generally happen
within four months of imposition
22
Appeals
• All members have right to appeal
NJP to immediate superior of the
imposing officer
• Two grounds for appeal
– punishment is unjust
– punishment is disproportionate to offense
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• Service members must make timely
appeal
– must be submitted within five days of
imposition of NJP
– extension for good cause may be requested
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Procedure for Appeal
• Submitted in writing by service member
• To the CO’s superior by way of the CO
• CO shall endorse the appeal and include
– statement of facts
– copies of documents and witness statements
– copy of service member’s record of
performance
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Action of Appellate Authority
• “Abuse of Discretion” standard of review
• Can reduce, but not increase, punishment
• May take corrective action or order a
rehearing
• At rehearing, maximum punishment
limited to original NJP punishment
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