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Evidence Custodian
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Review of Supporting Documents
safeguard  evidence  is  important  for  all  involved,  from the security investigator to the TC. As an LN working in  the  trial  division,  you  could  possibly  be  responsible for  keeping  and  maintaining  evidence.  Observing  the proper procedures will save a lot of embarrassment for you  and  the  command. Disposition of Evidence When no longer needed for a court-martial or other purposes,  property  of  evidentiary  value  should  be disposed of as follows: if the owner of the property is known, and it is legal for him or her to have it, return it; if it is legal to own the property in question, but the owner is unknown, turn the property over to the property disposal officer, unless the property is money, in which case it is turned over to the disbursing officer; and if the property  is  illegal  to  have,  then  destroy  it  and  keep  a record  of  its  destruction. PRETRIAL REVIEW OF CHARGE SHEET What do you look for when reviewing charge sheets and allied papers before trial? Well, the answer is not standard  because  every  SJA  and  NLSO  operation throughout the world has its uniqueness because of geographical responsibilities. As a senior LN, it will be your responsibility to be able to adapt to these local requirements. The  following  are  the  basic  procedures that are common to all pretrial reviews. Purpose of Review Aside from the routine review of a charge sheet, the critical  area  is  whether  or  not  the  specification(s)  is/are sufficient. In other words, if a specification of which an accused has been found guilty fails to allege an offense under  the  UCMJ  or  shows  lack  of  jurisdiction,  the proceedings  as  to  that  specification  will  not  be  legally valid and have no legal effect. If a specification alleges an offense under the UCMJ, proceedings as to that specification  should  not  be  held  invalid  solely  because the specification is defective; however, if it appears from the record that the accused was, in fact, misled by the defect or that his or her substantial rights were otherwise materially prejudiced, appropriate corrective action must be taken. The  test  of  sufficiency  of  a  specification  is  not whether  it  could  have  been  made  more  definite  or certain,  but  whether  the  facts  alleged  and  reasonably implied set forth the offense sought to be charged with sufficient clarity to inform the accused of what he or she must defend against. Whether the record is sufficient to enable him or her to avoid a second prosecution for the same  offense  must  also  be  considered  in  applying  the test. Sworn  Charges Once  the  charges  and  specifications  have  been prepared, they are signed and sworn to by the accuser before an officer authorized to administer oaths and must state both that the signer has personal knowledge of, or has investigated, the charges set forth, and that they are true to the best of his or her knowledge and belief. The accuser must be a person subject to the UCMJ. Usually, the CO has the officer who conducted the  preliminary  investigation  sign  the  charges. Statute of Limitations Except for certain offenses, there is a time limit specified  in  Article  43,  UCMJ,  within  which  a  person may be charged with an offense. Unless the statute of limitations has been tolled, extended, or suspended, or unless the offense is one for which there is no limitation, sworn charges must be received by the officer exercising SCM   jurisdiction   over   the   command   within   the specified  time. See  Article  43  for  the  statute  of limitations  on  all  offenses  under  the Jurisdiction An important area of review is examine jurisdiction and see why it offense has been alleged. After all, UCMJ. jurisdiction. Let’s is critical when an if the government does not have the jurisdiction over the accused, it cannot try the case. JURISDICTION   OVER   THE   ACCUSED.— Generally speaking, a court-martial has jurisdiction to try only military members on active duty. Therefore, each specification must clearly indicate that the accused is on active duty. Jurisdiction over the accused normally begins with a valid enlistment and ends with delivery of valid  discharge  papers. In most cases, there is little doubt that the accused is on active duty; that is, he or she has validly enlisted. However,  even  when  there  is  no  valid  enlistment,  the accused  may  still  be  subject  to  court-martial jurisdiction. If an enlistment ceremony has occurred, but  is  for  some  reason  invalid,  the  doctrine  of constructive  enlistment  may  apply;  one  who  acts  as  if he or she is in the military, accepts the pay and benefits, and wears the uniform, is deemed to be in the military even though his or her original enlistment is invalid for 6-41

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