Practice and Procedure
service member who has received an adverse decision by a Court of Criminal
Appeals typically will receive an accompanying notice of the opportunity
to submit a petition for review of that decision within 60 days to the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.
receipt of a petition, the Court will notify appellate defense counsel
of the opportunity to submit a Petition Supplement. The supplement describes
the authority for the Court’s jurisdiction over the case, sets
forth alleged errors of law, and provides legal arguments supporting
the contention that there is “good cause” to grant review
under Article 67 and the Court’s rules. After the supplement is
filed with the Court, the Government has an opportunity to respond.
the course of deciding whether to grant review, the Court reviews the
record and the material filed by parties. If the Court grants review,
the Court will identify the specific issues that will be considered
on appeal. The Court may decide to review issues set forth by a party
as well as issues identified by the Court. Under the Court’s practice,
review of an issue requires the support of at least two of the Court’s
the Court grants review, and in cases involving mandatory review, the
parties are notified of the briefing requirements under the Court’s
rules. In most cases, oral argument is scheduled following submission
of briefs, but the Court decides a number of cases without oral argument.
The Court notifies the parties of the oral argument date, and the oral
argument schedule is posted on the Court’s website. In a typical
case, each party is given 20 minutes to present argument to the Court.
of the Court’s oral arguments are held at its courthouse in Washington,
D.C. On occasion, as part of the Court’s judicial outreach program,
the Court will hold arguments at law schools, military bases, and other
public facilities. This practice, known as Project Outreach, was developed
as part of a public awareness program to demonstrate the operation of
a federal court of appeals and the military criminal justice system.
judges regularly meet in conference to discuss recently argued cases.
As a matter of custom, there is full discussion of each case followed
by a tentative vote. If the Chief Judge is in the majority, the Chief
Judge assigns the responsibility for drafting an opinion to a judge
in the majority. If the Chief Judge is not in the majority, the next
senior judge in the majority assigns the case. After an opinion is drafted,
it is circulated to all judges, who have the opportunity to concur,
comment, or submit a separate opinion. After the judges have had an
opportunity to express their views in writing, the opinion is released
to the parties and the public.
Judge Advocate General has established separate appellate divisions
to represent the government and the defense before the Courts of Criminal
Appeals, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Supreme
Court of the United States regardless of indigency. A servicemember
whose case is eligible for review is entitled to free representation
by government-furnished counsel, and also may be represented by civilian
counsel provided at the servicemember’s own expense.
appearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces must
be admitted to the Bar of the Court or obtain permission of the Court
to appear in a specific case. An application for membership in the Court’s
bar may be obtained from the Court’s website.
Over 36,000 attorneys have been admitted to practice since the Court
was established in 1951.
(Page updated 5/15/17)