Courts-Martial Appeals

For a military member convicted at a court-martial, there are a variety of different appellate reviews that one can pursue. The type of appellate review depends upon the adjudged sentence and the type of court-martial. Military members are entitled to legal representation during all phases of appellate review.

At JAG Defense, our appellate practice is led by Mr. David Wagner. Mr. Wagner retired as a Captain from the United States Navy following 28 years of service in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. During his career, Mr. Wagner served as both a trial and appellate judge. As a trial judge, Mr. Wagner presided over hundreds of General and Special Courts-Martial. Mr. Wagner was also appointed as an appellate judge on the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, where he served just one year before being named a Senior Judge in charge of a three-judge panel. Mr. Wagner was then appointed by the Judge Advocate General as the Chief Judge of the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, where he supervised fourteen judges serving on five different appellate panels. During his tenure, Mr. Wagner authored hundreds of appellate opinions and participated in over 1,000 military appellate cases.  If you or a loved one has been convicted at a court-martial, please contact JAG Defense for a free consultation about how Mr. Wagner can assist you with a possible appeal.

Court-Martial Appeals Overview

A judge advocate will conduct a review of all Summary Courts-Martial, Special Courts-Martial that do not include a punitive discharge or one year confinement, and cases in which appellate review has been waived.

Each military service’s Judge Advocate General is the review authority in General Courts-Martial where the sentence does not include death, punitive discharge, or confinement for one year or more. The Judge Advocate General may elect to certify any case he/she reviews to their respective Court of Criminal Appeals.

For those military members whose sentences included death, punitive discharge, or confinement for one year or more, they will be automatically entitled to an appellate review of their case by their service’s Court of Criminal Appeals. These Courts of Criminal Appeals are the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals, the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals, and the Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals.

After review by the Court of Criminal Appeals, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) may elect to review any case. Review is automatic in death penalty cases and cases certified to the court by The Judge Advocate General of each service. CAAF reviews only questions of law and legal sufficiency.

Cases reviewed by CAAF may be considered for review by the Supreme Court of the United States.

A judge advocate will conduct a review of all summary courts-martial, special courts-martial that do not include a punitive discharge or one year confinement, and cases in which appellate has been waived

Each services’ Judge Advocate General is the review authority in general courts-martial where the sentence does not include death, punitive discharge, or confinement for one year or more. The Judge Advocate General may elect to certify any case he/she reviews to their respective Court of Criminal Appeals. 

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