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Could a court-martial occur after you retire?

There has been some questioning of whether retired military personnel can face a court-marital in California. Some believe that once you leave the military, any legal issues should go to the civilian court system. However, according to Military Times, the Supreme Court upheld the right to prosecute retired service members in a court-martial for crimes they commit.

The most interesting part of this is that the Court maintains the right for the Pentagon to try you even if you committed the crime after you retired. So, it does not matter if the crime occurred while you were still active or not. A court-martial is still a possibility.

This is not actually a surprise, though. This has always been the rule. However, there was a recent challenge of this when a former military member felt his crime, committed after he left service, should have been in the civilian court system and not the military court system.

The main argument for upholding this law is that retired members still receive military pay, and therefore, are still part of the military. Furthermore, even retired members may be called upon to serve active duty in times of war. Therefore, they are still very much under the control of the military courts.

Accepting the retirement pay from the military creates a relationship that does not end when the service member retires. That stance by the court is very clear and one of the main reasons why any retired service member can face a court-martial for crimes he or she commits at any time. This information is for education and is not legal advice.