UCMJ Court-Martial Appeals

Convicted at court-martial for a military sexual assault and need to appeal

For the moment at least the Congress and others have not sought to take away the right to appeal a court-martial finding of guilt and sentence for a military sexual assault.

If you are convicted at court-martial there are two avenues of appeal, depending on the sentence that was given. Your military defense lawyer should have explained to you about post-trial actions to appeal or seek a reduction in sentence.

If your sentence did not include a punitive discharge (bad-conduct, dishonorable, dismissal), and you were not sentenced to be confined for one year or more, you have the limited right to review within the Office of the Judge Advocate General. This is sometimes referred to as a 69 review. You may also ask for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. We have experience filing such petitions for review as military appellate defense lawyer.

If your sentence includes a punitive discharge or at least one year in confinement you are entitled to a mandatory review under Article 66, UCMJ. One of the “different” ways the military appeal works from civilian cases is the unique power of the court of criminal appeals to review a case for factual, as well as legal sufficiency. The CCA:

may affirm only such findings of guilty, and the sentence or such part or amount of the sentence, as it finds correct in law and fact and determines, on the basis of the entire record, should be approved. In considering the record, it may weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, and determine controverted questions of fact, recognizing that the trial court saw and heard the witnesses.

If you lose in the CCA, you have the right to petition the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, under Article 67, UCMJ. And from there is a limited possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. There have been occasional efforts in Congress to broaden and improve access to the Supreme Court for the military convicted, but without success so far.

Having reviewed more than a thousand appeals since 1991, I have the experience to review your record and recommend how best to appeal a conviction, and the likelihood of success.

Call or email me about a case review