Restoring the Promise of the Right to Speedy Trial to Service Members in Pretrial Arrest and Confinement
JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S SCHOOL CHARLOTTESVILE VA
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In 1991, the President promulgated the most recent amendments to the militarys procedural speedy trial rule -- Rule for Courts-Martial 707 R.C.M. 707. This new version of R.C.M. 707 envisaged the simplification of some 40 years of confusion over what the right to a speedy trial means to persons who are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice UCMJ. The enactment of this new rule apparently was sufficient to convince the Court of Military Appeals that the President finally had provided a procedural mechanism that was capable of carrying out UCMJ Article 10s speedy trial mandate without judicial intervention. Accordingly, in United States v Kossman, the court retired the 90-day rule of United States v Burton, in lieu of the Presidents comprehensive speedy trial scheme. A critical analysis of the courts holding in Kossman, however, reveals that it resurrects a multitude of issues -- and creates a number of new issues -- that will affect the speedy trial rights of service members in pretrial arrest or confinement. Examining these issues reveals that the present structure for assuring the right to a speedy trial to service members in pretrial detention is statutorily infirm and constitutionally unavailing. This circumstance not only demands the military justice systems immediate attention, but also implores the President to amend R.C.M. 707 to restore the promise of the right to speedy trial to service members in pretrial arrest or confinement.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations