After a court-martial, unlike many civilian courts, confinement begins immediately after a trial is over, unless deferred by the convening authority.
The Government will, in many cases, be required to compile a verbatim transcript, along with the allied papers to include reports, investigations, and motions among other documents, that may not have necessarily been admitted at trial. These materials are referred to as the Record of Trial. The Record of Trial is served on the defense counsel and the Accused. Once served upon the Accused, the Accused will have 10 days (which can be extended to 20 days) to request clemency from the convening authority. Although a Convening Authority's power to grant clemency has been recently diminished by Congress, certain powers remain and military counsel should be consulted at this post-trial conjuncture to maximize opportunities for an Accused and his or her dependents.
Once the convening authority takes final action on the sentence, and if that sentence includes either confinement for more than one year's time, a punitive discharge, or death in event of a capital case, the case will be automatically referred to the applicable court of appeals, that being either the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (A.C.C.A.) Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals (N.M.C.C.A.), Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (A.F.C.C.A.), or Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (C.G.C.C.A.) During this time, the Servicemember is assigned a military attorney from the Defense Appellate Division. It is also during this time that many Servicemembers elect to retain a civilian military attorney to represent them in their court-martial appeal before the Court of Criminal Appeals. Meaningful relief from the Court of Criminal Appeals begins with an appeal lawyer's preparation of an appellate brief to the Court. This brief will identify the errors at trial, and other matters that may have produced an unfair result and is developed through close coordination between the Servicemember and counsel. Following submission, the Servicemember may, with the assistance of experienced counsel, file a reply brief, request oral argument or rest on the papers first prepared and filed. Contact Matthew G, Jubelt for more information regarding a Court-Martial Appeal.