10 U.S. Code § 853a. Art. 53a. Plea agreements

(a) In General.—
(1) At any time before the announcement of findings under section 853 of this title (article 53), the convening authority and the accused may enter into a plea agreement with respect to such matters as—
(A)
the manner in which the convening authority will dispose of one or more charges and specifications; and
(B)
limitations on the sentence that may be adjudged for one or more charges and specifications.
(2)
The military judge of a general or special court-martial may not participate in discussions between the parties concerning prospective terms and conditions of a plea agreement.
(b) Limitation on Acceptance of Plea Agreements.—The military judge of a general or special court-martial shall reject a plea agreement that—
(1)
contains a provision that has not been accepted by both parties;
(2)
contains a provision that is not understood by the accused;
(3)
except as provided in subsection (c), contains a provision for a sentence that is less than the mandatory minimum sentence applicable to an offense referred to in section 856(b)(2) of this title (article 56(b)(2));
(4)
is prohibited by law; or
(5)
is contrary to, or is inconsistent with, a regulation prescribed by the President with respect to terms, conditions, or other aspects of plea agreements.
(c) Limited Conditions for Acceptance of Plea Agreement for Sentence Below Mandatory Minimum for Certain Offenses.—With respect to an offense referred to in section 856(b)(2) of this title (article 56(b)(2))—
(1)
the military judge may accept a plea agreement that provides for a sentence of bad conduct discharge; and
(2)
upon recommendation of the trial counsel, in exchange for substantial assistance by the accused in the investigation or prosecution of another person who has committed an offense, the military judge may accept a plea agreement that provides for a sentence that is less than the mandatory minimum sentence for the offense charged.
(d) Binding Effect of Plea Agreement.—
Upon acceptance by the military judge of a general or special court-martial, a plea agreement shall bind the parties and the court-martial.
(Added Pub. L. 114–328, div. E, title LVII, § 5237, Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2917; amended Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title V, § 531(d), title X, § 1081(c)(1)(H), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1384, 1598.)
Amendments

2017—Subsec. (b)(4), (5). Pub. L. 115–91, § 531(d)(1), added pars. (4) and (5).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 115–91, § 1081(c)(1)(H), which directed substitution of “court-martial” for “military judge” the second place it appeared, could not be executed because of the prior amendment by Pub. L. 115–91, § 531(d)(2). See below.

Pub. L. 115–91, § 531(d)(2), substituted “shall bind the parties and the court-martial” for “shall bind the parties and the military judge”.

Effective Date of 2017 Amendment

Amendment by section 531(d) of Pub. L. 115–91 effective immediately after the amendments made by div. E (§§ 5001–5542) of Pub. L. 114–328 take effect as provided for in section 5542 of that Act (10 U.S.C. 801 note), see section 531(p) of Pub. L. 115–91, set out as a note under section 801 of this title.

Amendment by section 1081(c)(1)(H) of Pub. L. 115–91 effective immediately after the amendments made by div. E (§§ 5001–5542) of Pub. L. 114–328 take effect as provided for in section 5542 of that Act (10 U.S.C. 801 note), see section 1081(c)(4) of Pub. L. 115–91, set out as a note under section 801 of this title.

Effective Date

Section effective on Jan. 1, 2019, as designated by the President, with implementing regulations and provisions relating to applicability to various situations, see section 5542 of Pub. L. 114–328 and Ex. Ord. 13825, set out as notes under section 801 of this title.