If a military member is convicted and sentenced in a General Court-Martial or Special Court-Martial trial, his/her first post-trial opportunity for relief is called court-martial clemency.
After a military court-martial trial is over, if the military accused has been convicted, the court-martial Convening Authority will take action on the case. This is called clemency. This happens before the case proceeds to the appeal stage.
In recent years, the rules regarding clemency have changed drastically. What action a court-martial Convening Authority can now take in the clemency stage is very limited. Gone are the days in which clemency setting aside convictions or sentences in any military case was authorized.
Now, there are many military cases/outcomes in which the Convening Authority cannot grant any meaningful post-trial clemency at all.
Despite these disappointing changes to the military court-martial clemency process, the following post-trial rules govern the clemency process:
Through these post-trial rules, and although a military member may have been convicted and sentenced in a court-martial trial, there could still be opportunities for some relief. A court-martial conviction and sentence can have devastating legal, professional, personal and family consequences. Experienced and aggressive defense representation is crucial in the post-trial phase of a military court-martial trial.
Defending military members in court-martial trials, court-martial clemency and court-martial appeal is what civilian court-martial defense lawyers do. The only type of law we handle is military law. Mr. Stevens and Mr. Spinner are civilian criminal defense attorneys and former active duty military JAG lawyers who exclusively defend military members stationed around the world who are facing military trials, discipline and investigations.