Court-Martial Convening Order 1-CY of 1 January
e. Subject to the Following InstructionsThe
CA may have any number of instructions about a case
being referred to court-martial. In this event, the CA
would state in this section what instructions or
conditions are applicable. These instructions could
include ( 1 ) that the charges against the accused be tried
with certain other charges; (2) that the CA is referring a
capital offense as noncapital if the death penalty is not
mandatory (when a CA has this discretion to refer a
capital case as noncapital, he or she should refer to the
criteria found in R.C.M. 1004); (3) that no bad-conduct
discharge (BCD) be adjudged; and (4) instructions on
amending orders to the court-martial. NOTE: You
must state all special instructions in the referral.
f. By Command or Order ofReferral will be
by the personal order of the CA. In some instances, the
CA may not be signing the charge sheet. If this should
occur, reflect it by showing the signers authority.
If the CA is signing (which is usually the case), then
this section would be lined out by using slashes.
SPECIAL NOTE: If the only officer present in the
command refers the charges to an summary
court-martial (SCM) and serves as SCM officer,
complete the referral with this additional comment:
Only Officer Present in the Command.
Block 15: Service of Charges.
a. DateType or handwrite in the date that
service upon the accused is made.
b. Typed Name of Trial CounselType in the
full name of the TC.
c. Grade or Rank of Trial CounselExample:
LT, JAGC, USNR (spell out if room allows).
d. SignatureThe TC signs his or her name as
typed in this block.
If charges are for trial by SCM, this section would
reflect that the summary court served the accused. This
process would be done by typing slashes through the
words Trial Counsel and replacing them with the words
The TC is responsible for serving the accused.
Some items to keep in mind at this point are that you or
the TC must actually give a copy of the charges to the
accused. Substitute service upon the defense counsel
(DC) is not enough.
Service should be made
immediately after receipt of the charges by the TC. The
TC promptly informs the DC that service was made.
Any questions by the accused when served should be
referred to the respective DC. Changes or amendments
to the charge sheet need to be brought to the attention of
Any charge sheet that is amended or
substantially changed must be additionally served upon
e. Service on Accused By Direction of the
Trial CounselAlthough the TC is tasked with service
of charges upon the accused, the TC may not be able to
accomplish this on all occasions. If this situation should
occur, follow the steps set forth below:
(1) Service section will reflect all personal
information of the TC.
(2) Service By direction of the Trial
Counsel is shown by leaving the section (caused to be)
In time of peace, no person may, over objection, be
brought to trial, including an Article 39(a) session,
before a general court-martial (GCM) within the period
of 5 days after service of charges, or before a special
court-martial (SPCM) within a period of 3 days after
service of charges.
In computing these dates, exclude the date of
You will also exclude the date of trial.
However, you will include holidays and Sundays. The
accused has the right, however, to waive the mandatory
waiting period and proceed to trial before the 3- or 5-day
period has elapsed.
With one accused prepare at least an original and six
copies of the charge sheet. You will distribute them as
1. OriginalFor insertion in the original record of
2. Copies toTC, DC, military judge, accused,
court reporter, and the file
This is a recommended distribution. Numbers may
vary depending upon local practices.
CONVENING AND AMENDING ORDERS
Courts-martial are convened by means of a
convening order issued by the CA, The convening order
must be personally signed by the CA. Without a
convening order, no court-martial can be held, with one
exception; the exception is when only one officer is
attached to a command. In this case, he or she is the