United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 10, 2023
Art. 25. Who may serve on courts-martial
Any commissioned officer on active duty is eligible to serve on all courts-martial for the trial of any person who may lawfully be brought before such courts for trial.
Any warrant officer on active duty is eligible to serve on general and special courts-martial for the trial of any person, other than a commissioned officer, who may lawfully be brought before such courts for trial.
Any enlisted member on active duty is eligible to serve on a general or special court-martial for the trial of any other enlisted member.
Before a court-martial with a military judge and members is assembled for trial, an enlisted member who is an accused may personally request, orally on the record or in writing, that—
the membership of the court-martial be comprised entirely of officers; or
enlisted members comprise at least one-third of the membership of the court-martial, regardless of whether enlisted members have been detailed to the court-martial.
Except as provided in paragraph (4), after such a request, the accused may not be tried by a general or special court-martial if the membership of the court-martial is inconsistent with the request.
If, because of physical conditions or military exigencies, a sufficient number of eligible officers or enlisted members, as the case may be, is not available to carry out paragraph (2), the trial may nevertheless be held. In that event, the convening authority shall make a detailed written statement of the reasons for nonavailability. The statement shall be appended to the record.
Except as provided in paragraph (2) for capital offenses, the accused in a court-martial with a military judge and members may, after the findings are announced and before any matter is presented in the sentencing phase, request, orally on the record or in writing, sentencing by members.
In a capital case, the accused shall be sentenced by the members for all offenses for which the court-martial may sentence the accused to death in accordance with section 853(c) of this title (article 53(c)).
In a capital case, if the accused is convicted of a non-capital offense, the accused shall be sentenced for such non-capital offense in accordance with section 853(b) of this title (article 53(b)), regardless of whether the accused is convicted of an offense for which the court-martial may sentence the accused to death.
When it can be avoided, no member of an armed force may be tried by a court-martial any member of which is junior to him in rank or grade.
When convening a court-martial, the convening authority shall detail as members thereof such members of the armed forces as, in his opinion, are best qualified for the duty by reason of age, education, training, experience, length of service, and judicial temperament. No member of an armed force is eligible to serve as a member of a general or special court-martial when he is the accuser or a witness for the prosecution or has acted as preliminary hearing officer or as counsel in the same case.
The convening authority shall detail not less than the number of members necessary to impanel the court-martial under section 829 of this title (article 29).
Before a court-martial is assembled for the trial of a case, the convening authority may excuse a member of the court from participating in the case. Under such regulations as the Secretary concerned may prescribe, the convening authority may delegate his authority under this subsection to his staff judge advocate or legal officer or to any other principal assistant.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 45; Pub. L. 90–632, § 2(7),
Oct. 24, 1968, 82 Stat. 1336; Pub. L. 98–209, §§ 3(b), 13(c), Dec. 6, 1983, 97 Stat. 1394, 1408; Pub. L. 99–661, div. A, title VIII, § 803(a), Nov. 14, 1986, 100 Stat. 3906; Pub. L. 114–328, div. E, title LV, § 5182, title LVI, § 5203(e)(2), Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2899, 2906; Pub. L. 117–263, div. A, title V, § 543(a), Dec. 23, 2022, 136 Stat. 2582.)
cite as: 10 USC 825