(a)A military judge shall be detailed to each general court-martial. Subject to regulations of the Secretary concerned, a military judge may be detailed to any special court-martial. The Secretary concerned shall prescribe regulations providing for the manner in which military judges are detailed for such courts-martial and for the persons who are authorized to detail military judges for such courts-martial. The military judge shall preside over each open session of the court-martial to which he has been detailed.
(b)A military judge shall be a commissioned officer of the armed forces who is a member of the bar of a Federal court or a member of the bar of the highest court of a State and who is certified to be qualified for duty as a military judge by the Judge Advocate General of the armed force of which such military judge is a member.
(c)The military judge of a general court-martial shall be designated by the Judge Advocate General, or his designee, of the armed force of which the military judge is a member for detail in accordance with regulations prescribed under subsection (a). Unless the court-martial was convened by the President or the Secretary concerned, neither the convening authority nor any member of his staff shall prepare or review any report concerning the effectiveness, fitness, or efficiency of the military judge so detailed, which relates to his performance of duty as a military judge. A commissioned officer who is certified to be qualified for duty as a military judge of a general court-martial may perform such duties only when he is assigned and directly responsible to the Judge Advocate General, or his designee, of the armed force of which the military judge is a member and may perform duties of a judicial or nonjudicial nature other than those relating to his primary duty as a military judge of a general court-martial when such duties are assigned to him by or with the approval of that Judge Advocate General or his designee.
(d)No person is eligible to act as military judge in a case if he is the accuser or a witness for the prosecution or has acted as investigating officer or a counsel in the same case.
(e)The military judge of a court-martial may not consult with the members of the court except in the presence of the accused, trial counsel, and defense counsel, nor may he vote with the members of the court.
In subsection (a), the words “a commissioned” are substituted for the word “an” for clarity. The words “of the United States” are omitted as surplusage. The word “is” is substituted for the words “shall be”. The word “if” is substituted for the word “when”. The word “detail” is substituted for the word “appoint”, since the filling of the position involved is not appointment to an office in the constitutional sense.
In subsection (b), the word “may” is substituted for the word “shall”.
1983—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 98–209, § 3(c)(1)(A), amended subsec. (a) generally, inserting provision requiring the Secretary concerned to prescribe regulations providing for the manner in which military judges are detailed for courts-martial and for the persons who are authorized to detail military judges for such courts-martial.
Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 98–209, § 3(c)(1)(B), substituted “in accordance with regulations prescribed under subsection (a). Unless” for “by the convening authority, and, unless”.
1968—Pub. L. 90–632substituted “military judge” for “law officer” and inserted reference to special court-martial.
Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 90–632substituted reference to military judge for references to law officer and such law officer’s requisite qualifications, inserted reference to special court-martial and regulations of the Secretary concerned governing the convening of a special court-martial, inserted provisions directing the military judge to preside over the open sessions of the court-martial to which he was assigned, and struck out provisions making law officers ineligible in a case in which he was the accuser or a witness for the prosecution or acted as investigating officer or as counsel.
Subsecs. (b) to (d). Pub. L. 90–632added subsecs. (b) to (d). Former subsec. (b) redesignated as subsec. (e) and amended.
Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 90–632redesignated former subsec. (b) as (e) and substituted “military judge” for “law officer” and struck out provision allowing consultation with members of the court on the form of the findings as provided in section
839 of this title (article 39).
Effective Date of 1983 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 98–209effective first day of eighth calendar month beginning after Dec. 6, 1983, but not to affect the designation or detail of a military judge or military counsel to a court-martial before that date, see section 12(a)(1), (2) ofPub. L. 98–209, set out as a note under section
801 of this title.
Effective Date of 1968 Amendment
Amendment by Pub. L. 90–632effective first day of tenth month following October 1968, see section 4 ofPub. L. 90–632, set out as a note under section
801 of this title.
Statutory References to Law Officer Deemed References to Military Judge
Section 3(a) ofPub. L. 90–632provided that: “Whenever the term law officer is used, with reference to any officer detailed to a court-martial pursuant to section
826(a) (article 26(a)) of title 10, United States Code [subsec. (a) of this section], in any provision of Federal law (other than provisions amended by this Act [see Short Title of 1968 Amendment note set out under section
801 of this title] or in any regulation, document, or record of the United States, such term shall be deemed to mean military judge.”
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