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Manual for Courts-Martial; Proposed Amendments

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AGENCY:

Joint Service Committee on Military Justice (JSC).

ACTION:

Notice of summary of public comment received regarding proposed amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2000 ed.).

SUMMARY:

The JSC is forwarding final proposed amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2000 ed.) (MCM) to the Department of Defense. The proposed changes, resulting from the JSC's 2002 annual review of the MCM, concern the rules of procedure applicable in trials by courts-martial. The proposed changes have not been coordinated within the Department of Defense under DoD Directive 5500.1, “Preparation and Processing of Legislation, Executive Orders, Proclamations, and Reports and Comments Thereon,” May 21, 1964, and do not constitute the official position of the Department of Defense, the Military Departments, or any other government agency.

ADDRESSES:

Comments and materials received from the public are available for inspection or copying at the Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, Military Law Branch, 2 Navy Annex, Washington, DC 20380-1775, between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal Holidays.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Major C. G. Carlson, USMC, Executive Secretary, Joint Service Committee on Military Justice, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (JAM), 2 Navy Annex, Washington, DC 20380-1775, (703) 614-4250, (703) 695-0335 fax.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

On 20 May 2002, the JSC published a Notice of Proposed Amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial and a Notice of Public Meeting to receive comment on its 2002 draft annual review of the Manual for Courts-Martial. On 27 June 2002, the public meeting was held. Three individuals and two members of the press attended the public meeting. Only one individual on behalf of an organization provided oral comment. The JSC received one letter commenting on the proposed amendments.

Purpose

The proposed changes concern the rules of procedure applicable in trials by courts-martial. More specifically, the Start Printed Page 68839proposed changes: require the convening authority to take affirmative action in referring an eligible offense for trial as a capital case; clarify rules prohibiting unreasonable multiplication of charges; provide for trial by twelve members in capital cases, where reasonably available; make a technical change substituting “hardship duty pay” for “foreign duty pay”; amends the rules and procedures applicable to sealed exhibits; explain that the military judge must determine as a matter of law whether an order is lawful; broadens the threat or hoax offense to include weapons of mass destruction, biological and chemical agents, and hazardous materials; and increases the maximum punishment for violation of the threat or hoax article.

Discussion of Comments and Changes

In response to the request for public comment the JSC received oral and written comments on behalf of one organization. The JSC considered the public comments and is satisfied that the proposed amendments are appropriate to implement without additional modification. The JSC will forward the public comments and the proposed amendments, as modified, to the Department of Defense.

The oral and written comments provided by the organization regarding the proposed substantive changes follow:

a. Noted that in the capital courts-martial provisions no effective date was listed for the application of the twelve-member panel procedures in the rule even though the statute applied the change to offenses occurring after December 31, 2002.

b. Stated that the JSC's expansion of Paragraph 109 may be improper given that the amendment appears to create a new offense. The organization objected to this new paragraph on the grounds that the creation of new offenses is a legislative prerogative and not a rulemaking task of the President.

c. Opposed changing Article 90 to make determination of lawfulness of an order a question of law where the JSC has premised such a change on U.S. v. New, 55 M.J. 95 (CAAF). The organization contended that New involved Article 92 instead of Article 90. The organization stated that an explanation is necessary and change to Article 90 should be held in abeyance.

d. Observed that the Analyses as presented are inadequate and do not provide a sufficient explanation for the Committee's recommendations.

The JSC has considered these comments and has determined that the rulemaking process is adequate, satisfies statutory requirements, and provides sufficient opportunity for public participation. The JSC has determined that its proposed amendment to Paragraph 109 does not improperly infringe on the legislative prerogative of the Congress. Additionally, the proposed amendment to Article 90 is appropriate because the definition of lawfulness in Article 92 is identical to the definition in Article 90 and extending CAAF's holding to Article 90 is a proper exercise of the President's rulemaking authority.

Proposed Amendments After Consideration of Public Comment Received

The proposed amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial are as follows:

Amend R.C.M. 103(2) by deleting “without” and replacing with “with” and by deleting “noncapital” and replacing with “capital.”

Amend the Analysis accompanying R.C.M. 103(2) by inserting the following prior to the discussion of subsection (3):

200_ Amendment: This definition is based on United States v. Mathews, 16 M.J. 354 (C.M.A. 1983), and R.C.M. 1004, and is consistent with the numerous affirmative steps required of a convening authority in order to refer a court-martial case as capital. See R.C.M. 1004 and accompanying analysis at Appendix 21, R.C.M. 1004.”

Amend R.C.M. 201(f)(1)(A)(iii)(b) by substituting the following therefor:

“(b) The case has not been referred with a special instruction that the case is to be tried as capital.”

Amend the Analysis accompanying R.C.M. 201(f) by inserting the following prior to the discussion of subsection (f)(2):

200_ Amendment: Subsection (1)(A)(iii)(b) was changed to reflect that a convening authority must affirmatively act to refer a capital punishment eligible offense for trial as a capital case.”

Amend R.C.M. 307(c)(4) by inserting the following at the end thereof:

“What is substantially one transaction should not be made the basis for an unreasonable multiplication of charges against one person.”

Amend the Discussion accompanying R.C.M. 307(c)(4) by striking the first sentence.

Amend the Analysis accompanying R.C.M. 307(c)(4) by inserting the following prior to the discussion of subsection (c)(5):

200_ Amendment: The first sentence of the non-binding discussion was moved, en toto, to subsection (4) to reflect the decision of United States v. Quiroz, which identifies the prohibition against the unreasonable multiplication of charges as a ‘a long-standing principle’ of military law. See United States v. Quiroz, 55 M.J. 334 (CAAF 2001).”

Amend R.C.M. 501(a)(1)(A) to read as follows:

“(A) A military judge and, except in capital cases, not less than five members.”

Amend R.C.M. 501(a)(1) by inserting the following subparagraph (C) to read as follows:

“(C) In all capital cases, a military judge and no fewer than twelve members, unless twelve members are not reasonably available because of physical conditions or military exigencies. If fewer than twelve members are reasonably available, the convening authority shall detail the next lesser number of reasonably available members under twelve, but in no event fewer than five. In such a case, the convening authority shall state in the convening order the reasons why twelve members are not reasonably available.”

Amend R.C.M. 805(b) by replacing the current second sentence with the following:

“No general court-martial proceeding requiring the presence of members may be conducted unless at least 5 members are present, or in capital cases, at least twelve members are present except as provided in R.C.M. 501(a)(1)(C), where twelve members are not reasonably available because of physical conditions or military exigencies. No special court-martial proceeding requiring the presence of members may be conducted unless at least 3 members are present except as provided in R.C.M. 912(h).”

Amend R.C.M. 1003(b)(2) by deleting “foreign” and substituting “hardship” therefor.

Amend the Analysis accompanying R.C.M. 1003(b)(2) by inserting the following paragraph:

200_ Amendment: Hardship Duty Pay (HDP) superceded Foreign Duty Pay (FDP) on 3 February 1999. HDP is payable to members entitled to basic pay. The Secretary of Defense has established that HDP will be paid to members (a) for performing specific missions, or (b) when assigned to designated areas.”

Amend R.C.M. 1004(b) by inserting the following after “(1) Notice.” and before “Before”:

“(A) Referral. The convening authority shall indicate that the case is to be tried as a capital case by including a special instruction in the referral block of the charge sheet. Failure to include this special instruction at the time of the referral shall not bar the convening authority from later adding the required special instruction, provided:

(i) that the convening authority has otherwise complied with the notice requirement of subsection (B); and

(ii) that if the accused demonstrates specific prejudice from such failure to include the special instruction, a continuance or a recess is an adequate remedy.

“(B) Arraignment.”

Amend the analysis accompanying R.C.M. 1004(b) by substituting the following paragraph for the current first paragraph:

200_ Amendment: Subsection (1)(A) is intended to provide early and definitive notice that the case has been referred for trial as a capital case. Subsection (1)(B) is intended to provide the defense written notice of the aggravating factors it intends to prove, yet afford some latitude to the prosecution to provide later notice, recognizing that the exigencies of proof may prevent early notice in some cases.” Start Printed Page 68840

Insert the following new R.C.M. 1103A to read as follows:

“Sealed exhibits and proceedings. If the record of trial contains exhibits, proceedings, or other matter ordered sealed by the military judge, the trial counsel shall cause such materials to be sealed so as to prevent indiscriminate viewing or disclosure. Trial counsel shall ensure that such materials are properly marked, including an annotation that the material was sealed by order of the military judge, and inserted at the appropriate place in the original record of trial. Copies of the record shall contain appropriate annotations that matters were sealed by order of the military judge and have been inserted in the original record of trial. Except as provided in the following subsections to this rule, sealed exhibits may not be opened by any party.

(1) Examination of sealed matters. For the purpose of this rule, “examination” includes unsealing the sealed documents, reading, viewing, or manipulating them in any way. “Examination” under this rule does not include photocopying, photographing, duplicating, or disclosing in any manner in the absence of an order from appropriate authority.

(A) Prior to authentication. Prior to authentication of the record by the military judge, sealed materials may not be examined in the absence of an order from the military judge based on good cause shown.

(B) Authentication through action. After authentication and prior to disposition of the record of trial pursuant to Rule for Courts-Martial 1111, sealed materials may not be examined in the absence of an order. Such order may be issued from the military judge upon a showing of good cause at a post-trial Article 39a session directed by the Convening Authority.

(C) Reviewing and appellate authorities.

(i) Reviewing and appellate authorities may examine sealed matters when those authorities determine that such action is reasonably necessary to a proper fulfillment of their responsibilities under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the Manual for Courts-Martial, governing directives, instructions, regulations, applicable rules for practice and procedure or rules of professional responsibility.

(ii) Reviewing and appellate authorities shall not, however, disclose sealed matter or information in the absence of:

(a) Prior authorization of the Judge Advocate General in the case of review under Rule for Courts-Martial 1201(b); or

(b) Prior authorization of the appellate court before which a case is pending in the case of review under Rules for Courts-Martial 1203 and 1204.

(iii) In those cases in which review is sought or pending before the United States Supreme Court, authorization to disclose sealed materials or information shall be obtained under that Court's rules of practice and procedure.

(iv) The authorizing officials in paragraph (ii) above may place conditions on authorized disclosures in order to minimize the disclosure.

(v) Reviewing and appellate authorities include:

(a) Judge advocates reviewing records pursuant to Rule for Courts-Martial 1112;

(b) Officers and attorneys in the office of the Judge Advocate General reviewing records pursuant to Rule for Courts-Martial 1201(b);

(c) Appellate government counsel;

(d) Appellate defense counsel;

(e) Appellate judges of the Courts of Criminal Appeals and their professional staffs;

(f) The judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and their professional staffs;

(g) The Justices of the United States Supreme Court and their professional staff; and

(h) Any other court of competent jurisdiction.”

Insert the following Analysis to accompany new R.C.M. 1103A:

200_Amendment: The 1998 amendments to the Manual for Courts-Martial introduced the requirement to seal M.R.E. 412 (rape shield) motions, related papers, and the records of the hearings, to “fully protect an alleged victim of [sexual assault] against invasion of privacy and potential embarrassment.” MCM Appendix 22, p. 36. As current rule 412(c)(2) reads, it is unclear whether appellate courts are bound by orders sealing 412 information issued by the military judge. See, e.g., United States v. Stirewalt, 53 M.J. 582 (C.G.C.C.A. 2000).

On a larger scale, the effect and scope of a military judge's order to seal exhibits, proceedings, or materials is similarly unclear. Certain aspects of the military justice system, particularly during appellate review, seemingly mandate access to sealed materials. For example, appellate defense counsel have a need to examine an entire record of trial to advocate thoroughly and knowingly on behalf of a client. Yet there is some uncertainty about appellate defense counsel's authority to examine sealed materials in the absence of a court order.

The rule is designed to respect the privacy and other interests that justified sealing the material in the first place, while at the same time recognizing the need for certain military justice functionaries to review that same information. The rule favors an approach relying on the integrity and professional responsibility of those functionaries, and assumes that they can review sealed materials and at the same time protect the interests that justified sealing the material in the first place. Should disclosure become necessary, then the party seeking disclosure is directed to an appropriate judicial or quasi-judicial official or tribunal to obtain a disclosure order.”

Amend Manual for Courts-Martial, Part IV, Paragraph 14c(2)(a), by inserting the following new subparagraph (ii) and renumbering existing subparagraphs (a)(ii) through (iv) as (a)(iii) through (v):

“(ii) Determination of lawfulness. The lawfulness of an order is a question of law to be determined by the military judge.”

Amend Manual for Courts-Martial, Part IV, Paragraph 109, by deleting the current text and replacing with the following:

“109. ARTICLE 134—Threat or hoax designed or intended to cause panic or public fear.

a. Text. See paragraph 60.

b. Elements.

(1) Threat.

(a) That the accused communicated certain language;

(b) That the information communicated amounted to a threat;

(c) That the harm threatened was to be done by means of an explosive, weapon of mass destruction, biological, or chemical agent, substance, or weapon, or hazardous material;

(d) That the communication was wrongful; and

(e) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

(2) Hoax.

(a) That the accused communicated or conveyed certain information;

(b) That the information communicated or conveyed concerned an attempt being made or to be made by means of an explosive, weapon of mass destruction, biological, or chemical agent, substance or weapon, or hazardous material to unlawfully kill, injure, or intimidate a person or to unlawfully damage or destroy certain property;

(c) That the information communicated or conveyed by the accused was false and that the accused then knew it to be false;

(d) That the communication of the information by the accused was malicious; and

(e) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

c. Explanation:

(1) Threat. A “threat” means an expressed present determination or intent to kill, injure, or intimidate a person or to damage or destroy certain property presently or in the future. Proof that the accused actually intended to kill, injure, intimidate, damage, or destroy is not required.

(2) Explosive. “Explosive” means gunpowder, powders used for blasting, all forms of high explosives, blasting materials, fuses (other than electrical circuit breakers), detonators, and other detonating agents, smokeless powders, any explosive bomb, grenade, missile, or similar device, and any incendiary bomb or grenade, fire bomb, or similar device, and any other explosive compound, mixture, or similar material.

(3) Weapon of mass destruction. A weapon of mass destruction is a device designed or intended to cause death or serious bodily injury through the release, dissemination, or impact of toxic or poisonous chemicals, or their precursors; or any weapon involving a disease organism; or any weapon that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life.

(4) Biological agent. The term “biological agent” means any micro-organism (including bacteria, viruses, fungi, rickettsiac, or protozoa), pathogen, or infectious substance, and any naturally occurring, bioengineered, or synthesized component of any such micro-organism, pathogen, or infectious substance, whatever its origin or method of production, that is capable of causing— Start Printed Page 68841

(i) death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism;

(ii) deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or materials of any kind; or

(iii) deleterious alteration of the environment.

(5) Chemical agent, substance, or weapon. A chemical agent, substance or weapon refers to a toxic chemical and its precursors and or a munition or device, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through toxic properties of those chemicals which would be released as a result of the employment of such munition or device, and any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of such munitions or devices.

(6) Hazardous material. A substance or material (including explosive, radioactive material, etiologic agent, flammable or combustible liquid or solid, poison, oxidizing or corrosive material, and compressed gas, or mixture thereof) or a group or class of material designated as hazardous by the Secretary of Transportation.

(7) Malicious. A communication is “malicious” if the accused believed that the information would probably interfere with the peaceful use of the building, vehicle, aircraft, or other property concerned, or would cause fear or concern to one or more persons.

d. Lesser included offenses.

(1) Threat.

(a) Article 134—communicating a threat

(b) Article 80—attempts

(c) Article 128—assault

(2) Hoax. Article 80—attempts.

e. Maximum punishment. Dishonorable discharge, forfeitures of all pay and allowances and confinement for 10 years.

f. Sample specifications.

(1) Threat.

In that _____ (personal jurisdiction data) did, (at/on board—location) on or about ____20__, wrongfully communicate certain information, to wit: ____, which language constituted a threat to harm a person or property by means of a(n) [explosive, weapon of mass destruction, biological agent or substance, chemical agent or substance and/or (a) hazardous material[s])].

(2) Hoax.

In that _____ (personal jurisdiction data) did, (at/on board—location), on or about ____ 20,__, maliciously (communicate) (convey) certain information concerning an attempt being made or to be made to unlawfully [(kill) (injure) (intimidate) ____] [(damage) (destroy) ____] by means of a(n) [explosion, weapon of mass destruction, biological agent or substance, chemical agent or substance, and/or (a) hazardous material(s)], to wit: ____, which information was false and which the accused then knew to be false.”

Amend the Analysis accompanying Punitive Article 134, Paragraph 109, subparagraph c, by inserting the following at the end thereof:

“200_ Amendment: This paragraph has been expanded to annunciate the various means by which a threat or hoax is based. Whereas explosives were the instruments most commonly used in the past, new types of weapons have developed. These devices include weapons of mass destruction, chemical agents, biological agents, and hazardous materials.”

Amend the Analysis accompanying Punitive Article 134, Paragraph 109, subparagraph e, by inserting the following at the end thereof:

“200_ Amendment: This amendment increases the maximum punishment currently permitted under paragraph 109 from 5 years to 10 years. Ten years is the maximum period of confinement permitted under 18 U.S.C. 844(e), the U.S. Code section upon which the original paragraph 109 is based.

Amend the Analysis accompanying Punitive Article 90 by inserting the following new subparagraph c(2)(a)(ii) and renumbering existing subparagraphs (a)(ii) through (iv) as (a)(iii) through (v):

“200_ Amendment: The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces held that the lawfulness of an order is a question of law to be determined by the military judge, not the trier of fact. See United States v. New, 55 M.J. 95 (C.A.A.F.).”

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Dated: November 4, 2002.

Patricia L. Toppings,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. 02-28725 Filed 11-12-02; 8:45 am]

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