Article 15(a) of the UCMJ permits U.S. military members facing nonjudicial punishment (NJP) to turn down the punishment and instead "demand trial by court-martial." This right applies unless the member is attached to or embarked on a vessel.
U.S. states and territories each have their own codes of military justice. All authorize NJP. But interestingly, when it comes to the "turn down" right they are almost evenly split: 28 permit military members to turn down NJP, 26 do not (meaning that NJP is binding).
The 28 states and territories that follow the DoD on permitting NJP turn-downs: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Guam, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Washington, and West Virginia.
The 26 states and territories where NJP is binding: Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
There are several reasons why nearly half of the U.S. jurisdictions do not follow the UCMJ, which is often the default template for states when crafting their own codes of military justice. First, some states may not conduct courts-martial, or can only convene them with great difficulty and expense. Military officials would lose credibility, and offenders gain sway, if the military's bluff is called when a member exercises the turn down right and the military is forced to back down. Second, many states offer other avenues of relief for military members who perceive they were treated unfairly in NJP, including petitions to the governor. Finally, several states may have decided that matters that were already deemed to be "minor offenses" suitable for NJP would be a waste of judicial resources for full-fledged court-martial, which are most suited for the adjudication of major offenses.