Court-Martial Appeals Lawyer
If a military member is convicted and sentenced in a military general court-martial or special court-martial trial, and after post-trial clemency is completed, the military member has post-trial appeal opportunities.
Can You Appeal a Court-Martial?
We receive many inquiries asking, “Can I appeal a court-martial conviction or sentence?” The answer is “yes.” Depending upon the severity of the court-martial sentence, the military member may received an automatic appeal to his/her military service branch court of appeals. That appeal could even proceed to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (C.A.A.F.) or the United States Supreme Court. In military cases in which an automatic appeal is not authorized, the military member can appeal to the Judge Advocate General (TJAG) of his/her service branch.
Why Should You Appeal a Court-Martial?
Whether or not you pursue an appeal after a military court-martial will depend on your discussions with your attorney, and what issues you want to pursue. A military member can waive their right to a court-martial appeal, but that is a serious decision that should be carefully considered.
If you are not satisfied with the outcome of your special court-martial or general court-martial case, or you want to have disputed factual or legal issues considered by an appellate court, you should seriously consider filing a court-martial appeal. You could seek to overturn a conviction, reduce a sentence, or both. As a result of filing a court-martial appeal, your current outcome/punishment cannot be increased. Either the outcome will remain the same, or you will receive a beneficial ruling.
How Can You Appeal a Court-Martial?
A court-martial appeal may be automatic or discretionary based on your sentence. Your decision about pursuing a court-martial appeal is an extremely important decision, and your potential appellate submission is extremely important as well. Because of this, you may want to seek a reputable and skilled civilian court-martial appeals lawyer to represent you. Our attorneys have been handling military cases for decades. Knowledge of military law and the military justice system are crucial.
Depending upon your military branch, there are different appellate courts. The following appellate courts review military court-martial cases:
- The Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA)
- The Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA)
- The Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA)
- Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA)
- United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF)
- United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS)
These appellate courts review the court-martial for legal error, factual sufficiency, and appropriateness of the sentence.
Court-Martial Appeal Process
Depending upon the specifics of your court-martial case, the appeal process may vary. The following post-trial rules govern the court-martial appeal process:
- Manual for Court-Martials (MCM) Chapter XII: Appeals and Review
- RCM 1201: Action by the Judge Advocate General
- RCM 1202: Appellate Counsel
- RCM 1203: Review by a Court of Criminal Appeals
- RCM 1204: Review by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- RCM 1205: Review by the Supreme Court
- RCM 1206: Powers and Responsibilities of the Secretary
- RCM 1207: Sentences Requiring Approval by the President
- RCM 1208: Restoration
- RCM 1209: Finality of Courts-Martial
- RCM 1210: New Trial
- UCMJ Article 62: Appeal by the United States
- UCMJ Article 63: Rehearing’s
- UCMJ Article 64: Review by a Judge Advocate
- UCMJ Article 65: Disposition of Records
- UCMJ Article 66: Review by Court of Criminal Appeals
- UCMJ Article 67: Review by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
- UCMJ Article 68: Branch Offices
- UCMJ Article 69: Review in the Office of the Judge Advocate General
- UCMJ Article 70: Appellate Counsel
- UCMJ Article 71: Execution of Sentence; Suspension of Sentence
- UCMJ Article 72: Vacation of Suspension
- UCMJ Article 73: Petition for a New Trial
- UCMJ Article 74: Remission and Suspension
- UCMJ Article 75: Restoration
- UCMJ Article 76: Finality of Proceedings, Findings, and Sentences
Why Choose Our Law Firm?
Although a military member may have been convicted and sentenced in a court-martial trial, and the court-martial Convening Authority may have approved the conviction and sentence in the post-trial clemency process, there are still opportunities for appeal. A court-martial conviction and sentence can have devastating effects, including:
- Legal consequences and federal criminal conviction
- Potential prison time and/or punitive discharge
- Potential loss of retirement and military benefits
- Potential collateral consequences, such as loss of professional license or civilian registration requirements
- Other military career and personal consequences
- Family consequences
Experienced and aggressive defense representation is crucial in the post-trial appeal phase of a military court trial.
Call us at 888-399-0693 to arrange your free initial court-martial appeals consultation.