Appellate Review of Courts-Martial
are conducted under the UCMJ, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801-946, and the
Manual for Courts-Martial. If the trial results in a conviction, the
case is reviewed by the convening authority -- the person who referred
the case for trial by court-martial. The convening authority has discretion
to mitigate the findings and sentence.
the sentence, as approved by the convening authority, includes death,
a bad-conduct discharge, a dishonorable discharge, dismissal of an officer,
or confinement for one year or more, the case is reviewed by an intermediate
court. There are four such courts -- the Army Court of Criminal Appeals,
the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Air Force Court
of Criminal Appeals, and the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals.
The Courts of Criminal Appeals review the cases for legal error, factual
sufficiency, and sentence appropriateness. All other cases are subject
to review by judge advocates under regulations issued by each service.
After such review, the Judge Advocate General may refer a case to the
appropriate Court of Criminal Appeals. The Courts of Criminal Appeals
also have jurisdiction under Article 62 of the UCMJ to consider appeals
by the United States of certain judicial rulings during trial. Review
under Article 62 is limited to issues involving alleged legal errors.
Court’s primary jurisdictional statute is Article 67(a) of the
UCMJ, which provides:
Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces shall review the record in –
cases in which the sentence, as affirmed by a Court of Criminal Appeals,
extends to death;
cases reviewed by a Court of Criminal Appeals which the Judge Advocate
General orders sent to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for
cases reviewed by a Court of Criminal Appeals in which, upon petition
of the accused and on good cause shown, the Court of Appeals for the
Armed Forces has granted a review.
Article 67(c), the Court’s review is limited to issues of law.
The Courts of Criminal Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Armed Forces also have jurisdiction to consider petitions for extraordinary
relief under the All Writs Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1651.
Supreme Court of the United States has discretion under 28 U.S.C. §
1259 to review cases under the UCMJ on direct appeal where the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has conducted a mandatory review
(death penalty and certified cases), granted discretionary review of
a petition, or otherwise granted relief. If the U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Armed Forces has denied a petition for review or a writ appeal,
consideration by the Supreme Court may be obtained only through collateral
review (e.g., a writ of habeas corpus).
(Page updated 10/31/06)