Will my court-martial automatically be appealed to the appellate courts?
In many circumstances, a court-martial case will be automatically reviewed by the appropriate service Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA). There is an Army CCA, Air Force CCA, Navy-Marine CCA and a Coast Guard CCA. Article 66 of the UCMJ dictates which court-martial cases will be automatically heard by the service courts of criminal appeals. Currently, Article 66, UCMJ states that these appellate courts will conduct an automatic review of any court-martial that results in a death, dismissal, discharge, or confinement for one year or more. Therefore, if your court-martial sentence fits into this category, your case will automatically be sent for review. If your sentence does not fit into this category, it most likely means you were not discharged from the service through your court-martial and your confinement time was less than a year. This means no automatic review. However, this does not mean you can’t have your case reviewed. The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) of your service may direct that a case be reviewed by the service appellate court under Article 69. Additionally, these courts may entertain petitions for extraordinary writs.
I have represented multiple clients as they request review through Article 69. In representing these clients, I do an in-depth review of their record of trial and find valid appellate issues. Then, I draft an extensive brief for TJAG outlining the key facts of the case and each appellate issue. Likewise, if I am hired to represent someone in their automatic appeal to a service court, I also thoroughly scour the record looking for valid appellate issues. It takes time and experience to really know what you are looking for. I work hard for each of my clients and have a great deal of experience in building appellate cases. Don’t leave your automatic appeal or your Article 69 appeal to just anyone. Find experience. Cases can definitely be won on appeal.
I have a great deal of experience with court-martials and court-martial appeals. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.