Appealing a Court-Martial Conviction
A court-martial is a military trial that is used to punish servicemen and women for crimes that have been committed while they are on duty. Unlike criminal trials in civilian courts, court-martials are not open to the public. This means that the people who are trying the case (the judges and jury) often know the accused person well and may have strong biases against them.
So, what if you feel that you have been wrongfully convicted? Is there a way to appeal your sentence? Well, yes. Appeals are possible in a court-martial conviction, but there are specific requirements that must be met in order to pursue an appeal. Our military criminal defense lawyers a The Griffin Law Firm will touch on these in this article.
Court-Martial Appeals: The Process
Court-martial appeals are a legal process that allows military members to appeal their court-martial convictions. The appeal process begins with filing a notice of appeal with the convening authority. The notice must include the reasons for appealing, the name and rank of the appellant, and any documentary evidence supporting the appeal.
After receiving the notice of appeal, the convening authority will review it and determine if there is enough information in the notice to begin an appellate review. If so, the convening authority will order an initial hearing on the appeal. If not, the convening authority may order more information to be submitted before proceeding with an initial hearing. After reviewing all information submitted, including testimony at any prior hearings if applicable, the convening authority will decide whether to order a full or partial rehearing. They may also review the facts without having you conduct a hearing at all.
If it is that you have been convicted on the grounds of unlawful command influence, you will need to file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the court of appeals that handles appeals in your branch of the military. You may also file an appeal with the United States Supreme Court.
What Are the Grounds for an Appeal?
There are several grounds for appealing a court-martial verdict, but some of the more common reasons include insufficient evidence, improper procedures, and unlawful command influence. A soldier must meet all of the following criteria to file an appeal: have been found guilty by a military tribunal; have exhausted all available administrative remedies, and believe that the outcome of his trial would have been different if the valid grounds for appeal had been considered.
Speak to a Military Defense Attorney
In conclusion, there are a few ways to appeal a court-martial conviction. Each has its own set of requirements and benefits, so it is important to speak with an experienced military lawyer if you are considering appealing your conviction.
For those who have already been sentenced, there is still hope for relief through the military's post-conviction process. However, given the high threshold required for success, it is best to speak with an experienced military defense attorney at Griffin Law Defense before taking any steps forward.