Description of summary court-martial:
A summary court-martial (SCM) is the least formal of the three types of courts-martial and the least protective of a soldier’s rights. The SCM is a streamlined trial process involving only one officer who theoretically performs the prosecutorial, defense counsel, judicial, and member (juror) functions. The purpose of this type of court-martial is to dispose promptly of relatively minor offenses. The one officer assigned to perform the various roles incumbent on the SCM must inquire thoroughly and impartially into the matter concerned to ensure that both the United States and the accused receive a fair hearing. Since the SCM is a streamlined procedure providing somewhat less protection for the rights of the parties than other forms of court- martial, the maximum possible punishment is very limited. Furthermore, it may try only enlisted personnel and only those who consent to be tried by SCM.