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Recommendation of the Staff Judge Advocate or  Legal  Officer
REVIEW OF COURTS-MARTIAL When proceedings at the trial court level have been completed, a record of trial must be prepared. Chapter 4 covers the preparation of the record of trial. Once prepared, the record of trial will be authenticated by the signature of a person who declares that the record accurately  reports  the  proceedings.  Except  in  unusual circumstances this person will be the military judge or summary  court-martial  officer. According   to JAG/COMNAVLEGSVCCOMINST   5814.1,   the NLSO   or   NLSO   detachment   responsible   for   the preparation  of  the  record  of  trial  will  attach  an appropriate posttrial checklist (GCM, SPCM [BCD], or SPCM [non-BCD]) to the original record of trial before sending the record to the CA for further review. The record of trial will then be sent to the CA and the review process begins. No part of the sentence, with the exception  of  confinement,  can  be  executed  against  the accused until the CA has acted on the record. Within certain time constraints, depending upon the type  of  court-martial  and  sentence  adjudged,  the accused may submit written “matters” to the CA. These matters  can  affect  the  CAs  decision  whether  to  approve or disapprove the trial results. In a general court-martial (GCM)  or  a  special  court-martial  (SPCM)  case involving  a  bad-conduct  discharge  (BCD),  the  CA’s decision  must  await  the  written  recommendation  of  the SJA or the legal officer (LO). With the benefit of these inputs,  the  CA  determines,  within  his  or  her  sole discretion,  whether  to  approve  or  disapprove  the sentence  adjudged.  This  determination  is  in  the  form  of a written legal document called the CA’s action. After the CA takes his or her action, the record of trial   is   sent   for   further   review. The   summary court-martial  (SCM),  the  SPCM  not  involving  a  BCD, and all other noncapital courts-martial in which the accused waived appellate review are reviewed by a judge advocate assigned, in most cases, to the staff of an OEGCMJ. This written review will normally end the mandatory  review  process.  However,  in  certain  cases the OEGCMJ will have to take final action. After initial review by the CA, the GCM and those SPCMs that include a BCD will normally be reviewed further by the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Military Review  (NMCMR).  Under  certain  circumstances,  the case can also be considered by the Court of Military Appeals  (COMA)  and,  possibly,  the  United  States Supreme  Court. THE CONVENING AUTHORITY’S REVIEW The CA is the CO of the unit or, for the purpose of review,  may  be  a  successor  in  command  or  the OEGCMJ. The person who convenes the court-martial in a particular case normally is the CA who takes initial action on the record of trial. The power of the CA to take action rests in the office, not in the person. When an assigned commander is not present for duty with his or her command because of incapacitation, leave, or for any other cause, the commissioned officer temporarily   succeeding   to   command   during   that absence is the officer commanding for the time being and, as such, is authorized to take initial action on the record of trial. When it is impractical for the person who convened  the  court  or  the  officer  commanding  for  the time being or a successor in command to take initial action on the record of trial, this review may be taken by any OEGCMJ. Matters Submitted By the Accused A copy of the record of trial must be served on the accused as soon as the record has been authenticated. This provides the accused with the opportunity to submit any  written  matters  that  may  affect  CA’s  decision whether or not to approve the trial results. The content of such matters is not subject to the Military Rules of Evidence  and  could  include  the  following: Allegations of error affecting the legality of the findings  and/or  sentence Portions or summaries of the record and copies of  documentary  evidence  offered  or  introduced at the trial Matters in mitigation that were not available for consideration at the trial Clemency recommendations (the defense may ask  any  person  for  such  a  recommendation, including the members, military judge, or TC) The option of the accused to submit matters to the CA  must  be  exercised  within  specifically  defined  time periods. Except in an SCM case, submission of matters by the accused must be made within 10 days after the accused is served with an authenticated record of trial and, if applicable, the service on the accused of the recommendation of the SJA or the LO. In an SCM case, submission  must  be  made  within  7  days  after  the sentence is announced. If the accused shows that additional time is required to submit matters, the CA may, for good cause shown, extend the applicable period 8-5

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