Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America

JWV Urges Changes in Military Appeals Process

December 2008

The Jewish War Veterans of the USA (JWV) urges a change in the current military appeals process under which members of the military whose cases have been declined by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces cannot appeal to the Supreme Court.

Under Article 67a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, "The Supreme Court may not review by a writ of certiorari under this section any action of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) in refusing to grant a petition for review." So, the Supreme Court cannot review a servicemember's court-martial if the CAAF denies review.

In one such case, a Navy cryptologist, Norbert B. MacLean III, pleaded guilty to a charge after feeling that he would have been unable to get a fair trial in the military, and only afterwards discovered that he did not have the right to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The JWV believes that it is blatantly unfair that our military personnel, who have put themselves on the line to defend the rights on which our country was founded, themselves do have the same right to appeal to the Supreme Court as do their fellow citizens.

Legislation to allow this change to the Uniform Code of Military Justice is currently under consideration, and the JWV urges its enactment. The code went into effect in 1951 and has not undergone major changes in the last 25 years.

Those who serve and defend our country should have the same rights as those they defend. The time to right this imbalance is now.

 

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