(a) Each Judge Advocate General shall establish a Court of Criminal Appeals which shall be composed of one or more panels, and each such panel shall be composed of not less than three appellate military judges. For the purpose of reviewing court-martial cases, the court may sit in panels or as a whole in accordance with rules prescribed under subsection (f). Any decision of a panel may be reconsidered by the court sitting as a whole in accordance with such rules. Appellate military judges who are assigned to a Court of Criminal Appeals may be commissioned officers or civilians, each of whom must be a member of a bar of a Federal court or of the highest court of a State. The Judge Advocate General shall designate as chief judge one of the appellate military judges of the Court of Criminal Appeals established by him. The chief judge shall determine on which panels of the court the appellate judges assigned to the court will serve and which military judge assigned to the court will act as the senior judge on each panel.
(b) The Judge Advocate General shall refer to a Court of Criminal Appeals the record in each case of trial by court-martial—
(1) in which the sentence, as approved, extends to death, dismissal of a commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman, dishonorable or bad-conduct discharge, or confinement for one year or more; and
(2) except in the case of a sentence extending to death, the right to appellate review has not been waived or an appeal has not been withdrawn under section 861 of this title (article 61).
(c) In a case referred to it, the Court of Criminal Appeals may act only with respect to the findings and sentence as approved by the convening authority. It 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.
(d) If the Court of Criminal Appeals sets aside the findings and sentence, it may, except where the setting aside is based on lack of sufficient evidence in the record to support the findings, order a rehearing. If it sets aside the findings and sentence and does not order a rehearing, it shall order that the charges be dismissed.
(e) The Judge Advocate General shall, unless there is to be further action by the President, the Secretary concerned, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, or the Supreme Court, instruct the convening authority to take action in accordance with the decision of the Court of Criminal Appeals. If the Court of Criminal Appeals has ordered a rehearing but the convening authority finds a rehearing impracticable, he may dismiss the charges.
(f) The Judge Advocates General shall prescribe uniform rules of procedure for Courts of Criminal Appeals and shall meet periodically to formulate policies and procedure in regard to review of court-martial cases in the offices of the Judge Advocates General and by Courts of Criminal Appeals.
(g) No member of a Court of Criminal Appeals shall be required, or on his own initiative be permitted, to prepare, approve, disapprove, review, or submit, with respect to any other member of the same or another Court of Criminal Appeals, an effectiveness, fitness, or efficiency report, or any other report or document used in whole or in part for the purpose of determining whether a member of the armed forces is qualified to be advanced in grade, or in determining the assignment or transfer of a member of the armed forces, or in determining whether a member of the armed forces should be retained on active duty.
(h) No member of a Court of Criminal Appeals shall be eligible to review the record of any trial if such member served as investigating officer in the case or served as a member of the court-martial before which such trial was conducted, or served as military judge, trial or defense counsel, or reviewing officer of such trial.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 59; Pub. L. 90–632, §2(27), Oct. 24, 1968, 82 Stat. 1341; Pub. L. 98–209, §§7(b), (c), 10(c)(1), Dec. 6, 1983, 97 Stat. 1402, 1406; Pub. L. 103–337, div. A, title IX, §924(b)(2), (c)(1), (4)(A), Oct. 5, 1994, 108 Stat. 2831, 2832; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title XI, §1153, Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 468.)
|Revised section||Source (U.S. Code)||Source (Statutes at Large)|
|May 5, 1950, ch. 169, §1 (Art. 66), 64 Stat. 128.|
Last modified: October 26, 2015