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S. 1752 (113th): Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013

The text of the bill below is as of Nov 21, 2013 (Placed on Calendar in the Senate).


II

Calendar No. 251

113th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1752

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

November 20, 2013

introduced the following bill; which was read the first time

November 21, 2013

Read the second time and placed on the calendar

A BILL

To reform procedures for determinations to proceed to trial by court-martial for certain offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 .

2.

Modification of authority to determine to proceed to trial by court-martial on charges on certain offenses with authorized maximum sentence of confinement of more than one year

(a)

Modification of authority

(1)

In general

(A)

Military departments

With respect to charges under chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), that allege an offense specified in paragraph (2) and not excluded under paragraph (3), the Secretary of Defense shall require the Secretaries of the military departments to provide for the determination under section 830(b) of such chapter (article 30(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) on whether to try such charges by court-martial as provided in paragraph (4).

(B)

Homeland security

With respect to charges under chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), that allege an offense specified in paragraph (2) and not excluded under paragraph (3) against a member of the Coast Guard (when it is not operating as a service in the Navy), the Secretary of Homeland Security shall provide for the determination under section 830(b) of such chapter (article 30(b) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice) on whether to try such charges by court-martial as provided in paragraph (4).

(2)

Covered offenses

An offense specified in this paragraph is an offense as follows:

(A)

An offense under chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), that is triable by court-martial under that chapter for which the maximum punishment authorized under that chapter includes confinement for more than one year.

(B)

A conspiracy to commit an offense specified in subparagraph (A) as punishable under section 881 of title 10, United States Code (article 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(C)

A solicitation to commit an offense specified in subparagraph (A) as punishable under section 882 of title 10, United States Code (article 82 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(D)

An attempt to commit an offense specified in subparagraphs (A) through (C) as punishable under section 880 of title 10, United States Code (article 80 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(3)

Excluded offenses

Paragraph (1) does not apply to an offense as follows:

(A)

An offense under sections 883 through 917 of title 10, United States Code (articles 83 through 117 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(B)

An offense under section 933 or 934 of title 10, United States Code (articles 133 and 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(C)

A conspiracy to commit an offense specified in subparagraph (A) or (B) as punishable under section 881 of title 10, United States Code (article 81 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(D)

A solicitation to commit an offense specified in subparagraph (A) or (B) as punishable under section 882 of title 10, United States Code (article 82 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(E)

An attempt to commit an offense specified in subparagraph (A) through (D) as punishable under section 880 of title 10, United States Code (article 80 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(4)

Requirements and limitations

The disposition of charges pursuant to paragraph (1) shall be subject to the following:

(A)

The determination whether to try such charges by court-martial shall be made by a commissioned officer of the Armed Forces designated in accordance with regulations prescribed for purposes of this subsection from among commissioned officers of the Armed Forces in grade O–6 or higher who—

(i)

are available for detail as trial counsel under section 827 of title 10, United States Code (article 27 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice);

(ii)

have significant experience in trials by general or special court-martial; and

(iii)

are outside the chain of command of the member subject to such charges.

(B)

Upon a determination under subparagraph (A) to try such charges by court-martial, the officer making that determination shall determine whether to try such charges by a general court-martial convened under section 822 of title 10, United States Code (article 22 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or a special court-martial convened under section 823 of title 10, United States Code (article 23 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(C)

A determination under subparagraph (A) to try charges by court-martial shall include a determination to try all known offenses, including lesser included offenses.

(D)

The determination to try such charges by court-martial under subparagraph (A), and by type of court-martial under subparagraph (B), shall be binding on any applicable convening authority for a trial by court-martial on such charges.

(E)

The actions of an officer described in subparagraph (A) in determining under that subparagraph whether or not to try charges by court-martial shall be free of unlawful or unauthorized influence or coercion.

(F)

The determination under subparagraph (A) not to proceed to trial of such charges by general or special court-martial shall not operate to terminate or otherwise alter the authority of commanding officers to refer such charges for trial by summary court-martial convened under section 824 of title 10, United States Code (article 24 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), or to impose non-judicial punishment in connection with the conduct covered by such charges as authorized by section 815 of title 10, United States Code (article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).

(5)

Construction with charges on other offenses

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to alter or affect the disposition of charges under chapter 47 of title 10, United States Code (the Uniform Code of Military Justice), that allege an offense triable by court-martial under that chapter for which the maximum punishment authorized under that chapter includes confinement for one year or less.

(6)

Policies and procedures

(A)

In general

The Secretaries of the military departments and the Secretary of Homeland Security (with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy) shall revise policies and procedures as necessary to comply with this subsection.

(B)

Uniformity

The General Counsel of the Department of Defense and the General Counsel of the Department of Homeland Security shall jointly review the policies and procedures revised under this paragraph in order to ensure that any lack of uniformity in policies and procedures, as so revised, among the military departments and the Department of Homeland Security does not render unconstitutional any policy or procedure, as so revised.

(7)

Manual for Courts-Martial

The Secretary of Defense shall recommend such changes to the Manual for Courts-Martial as are necessary to ensure compliance with this subsection.

(b)

Effective date and applicability

Subsection (a), and the revisions required by that subsection, shall take effect on the date that is 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply with respect to charges preferred under section 830 of title 10, United States Code (article 30 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), on or after such effective date.

3.

Modification of officers authorized to convene general and special courts-martial

(a)

In general

Subsection (a) of section 822 of title 10, United States Code (article 22 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (8) and (9) as paragraphs (9) and (10), respectively; and

(2)

by inserting after paragraph (7) the following new paragraph (8):

(8)

the officers in the offices established pursuant to section 3(c) of the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 or officers in the grade of O–6 or higher who are assigned such responsibility by the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Chief of Naval Operations, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, or the Commandant of the Coast Guard, but only with respect to offenses to which section 2(a)(1) of the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013 applies;

.

(b)

No exercise by officers in chain of command of accused or victim

Such section (article) is further amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

(c)

An officer specified in subsection (a)(8) may not convene a court-martial under this section if the officer is in the chain of command of the accused or the victim.

.

(c)

Offices of Chiefs of Staff on courts-Martial

(1)

Offices required

Each Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces or Commandant specified in paragraph (8) of section 822(a) of title 10, United States Code (article 22(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), as amended by subsection (a), shall establish an office to do the following:

(A)

To convene general and special courts-martial under sections 822 and 823 of title 10, United States Code (articles 22 and 23 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), pursuant to paragraph (8) of section 822(a) of title 10, United States Code (article 22(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), as so amended, with respect to offenses to which section 2(a)(1) applies.

(B)

To detail under section 825 of title 10, United States Code (article 25 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice), members of courts-martial convened as described in subparagraph (A).

(2)

Personnel

The personnel of each office established under paragraph (1) shall consist of such members of the Armed Forces and civilian personnel of the Department of Defense, or such members of the Coast Guard or civilian personnel of the Department of Homeland Security, as may be detailed or assigned to the office by the Chief of Staff or Commandant concerned. The members and personnel so detailed or assigned, as the case may be, shall be detailed or assigned from personnel billets in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act.

4.

Discharge using otherwise authorized personnel and resources

(a)

In general

The Secretaries of the military departments and the Secretary of Homeland Security (with respect to the Coast Guard when it is not operating as a service in the Navy) shall carry out sections 2 and 3 (and the amendments made by section 3) using personnel, funds, and resources otherwise authorized by law.

(b)

No authorization of additional personnel or resources

Sections 2 and 3 (and the amendments made by section 3) shall not be construed as authorizations for personnel, personnel billets, or funds for the discharge of the requirements in such sections.

5.

Monitoring and assessment of modification of authorities on courts-martial by independent panel on review and assessment of proceedings under the Uniform Code of Military Justice

Section 576(d)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 ( Public Law 112–239 ; 126 Stat. 1762) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating subparagraph (J) as subparagraph (K); and

(2)

by inserting after subparagraph (I) the following new subparagraph (J):

(J)

Monitor and assess the implementation and efficacy of sections 2 through 4 of the Military Justice Improvement Act of 2013, and the amendments made by such sections.

.

November 21, 2013

Read the second time and placed on the calendar