Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Appeals in absentia

Chief Judge James E. Baker
In an interesting decision, a 3-2 majority of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has dismissed a petition for discretionary review on the ground that the accused had not personally authorized the filing of the petition. Of particular note in United States v. Moss, 73 M.J. ___ (C.A.A.F. 2014), is Chief Judge James E. Baker's recognition of the tension between allowing trials in absentia but not appeals in absentia. He commented (at p. 8) that "trials in absentia are the sort of trials that undermine the credibility of foreign military justice systems." Senior Judge Andrew S. Effron joined in the dissent.

Does your system permit courts-martial in absentia? Can there be an appeal if the appellant is a fugitive? Must the appellant have personally authorized the appeal?

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