United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces hears appeals from the military courts (“courts martial”) of the army, navy, air force and coast guard. The Court was originally created in 1951 as the “United States Court of Military Justice.” The name was changed in 1994.

Legal Materials

Information about the court, including the Court’s Rules of Practice and Procedure are posted on the Court Web site. For tips and commentary, see Guide to the Rules of Practice and Procedure for the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces(LexisNexis).

Opinions: Opinions issued by the Court from 1951 to 1975 were published in Court Martial Reports, then from 1975 to the present in the Military Justice Reporter. Opinions from October 1, 1996 to the present are posted on the Court Web site.

You can pull opinions from Westlaw or Lexis using the format “xx C.M.R. xx” or “xx M.J. xx”. The Court’s opinions are searchable on Lexis (MILTRY;CAAF). They are searchable with the opinions of the military Courts of Criminal Appeals on both Lexis (MILTRY;COURTS) and Westlaw (MJ).

Background: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

Beginning in 1789, Congress has created a system of military courts for each branch of the nation’s armed forces, as an exercise of its expressed power to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces.” 21 These military courts– courts-martial –serve the special disciplinary needs of the armed forces and are not a part of the federal court system. Their judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, court reporters, and other personnel are all members of the military; most of them are officers. They conduct trials of those members of the military who are accused of violating military law. Today, the proceedings in a court-martial are very much like the trials held in civilian courts across the country.

In 1950, Congress created the Court of Military Appeals, now titled the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, to review the more serious court-martial convictions of military personnel. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces is a civilian tribunal, a court operating as part of the judicial branch, entirely separate from the military establishment. Its five judges–a chief judge and four associate judges–are appointed by the President and Senate to 15-year terms.

Appeals from the court’s decisions can, in a limited number of cases, be taken to the Supreme Court. It is, then, the court of last resort in most cases that involve offenses against military law.

See Also

The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
Military Commissions
Court Clerks / Court Houses
Docket Sheets
Federal Court Rules
Judges
Military Materials
United States Court of Appeals

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces

In Legislation

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in the U.S. Code: Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter XII

The current, permanent, in-force federal laws regulating united states court of appeals for the armed forces are compiled in the United States Code under Title 10, Subtitle A, Part II, Chapter 47, Subchapter XII. It constitutes “prima facie” evidence of statutes relating to General Military Law (including united states court of appeals for the armed forces) of the United States. The reader can further narrow his/her legal research of the general topic (in this case, Enlistments and Justice and Uniform Code of Military Justice of the US Code, including united states court of appeals for the armed forces) by chapter and subchapter.

United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. This part provides references, in relation to United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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