United States Code
USC most recently checked for updates: Sep 21, 2023
Art. 38. Duties of trial counsel and defense counsel
The trial counsel of a general or special court-martial shall prosecute in the name of the United States, and shall, under the direction of the court, prepare the record of the proceedings.
The accused has the right to be represented in his defense before a general or special court-martial or at a preliminary hearing under section 832 of this title (article 32) as provided in this subsection.
The accused may be represented by civilian counsel if provided by him.
The accused may be represented—
by military counsel detailed under section 827 of this title (article 27); or
by military counsel of his own selection if that counsel is reasonably available (as determined under regulations prescribed under paragraph (7)).
If the accused is represented by civilian counsel, military counsel detailed or selected under paragraph (3) shall act as associate counsel unless excused at the request of the accused.
Except as provided under paragraph (6), if the accused is represented by military counsel of his own selection under paragraph (3)(B), any military counsel detailed under paragraph (3)(A) shall be excused.
The accused is not entitled to be represented by more than one military counsel. However, the person authorized under regulations prescribed under section 827 of this title (article 27) to detail counsel, in his sole discretion—
may detail additional military counsel as assistant defense counsel; and
if the accused is represented by military counsel of his own selection under paragraph (3)(B), may approve a request from the accused that military counsel detailed under paragraph (3)(A) act as associate defense counsel.
The Secretary concerned shall, by regulation, define “reasonably available” for the purpose of paragraph (3)(B) and establish procedures for determining whether the military counsel selected by an accused under that paragraph is reasonably available. Such regulations may not prescribe any limitation based on the reasonable availability of counsel solely on the grounds that the counsel selected by the accused is from an armed force other than the armed force of which the accused is a member. To the maximum extent practicable, such regulations shall establish uniform policies among the armed forces while recognizing the differences in the circumstances and needs of the various armed forces. The Secretary concerned shall submit copies of regulations prescribed under this paragraph to the Committee on Armed Services of the Senate and the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives.
In any court-martial proceeding resulting in a conviction, the defense counsel—
may forward for attachment to the record of proceedings a brief of such matters as he determines should be considered in behalf of the accused on review (including any objection to the contents of the record which he considers appropriate);
may assist the accused in the submission of any matter under section 860, 860a, or 860b of this title (article 60, 60a, or 60b); and
may take other action authorized by this chapter.
An assistant trial counsel of a general court-martial may, under the direction of the trial counsel or when he is qualified to be a trial counsel as required by section 827 of this title (article 27), perform any duty imposed by law, regulation, or the custom of the service upon the trial counsel of the court. An assistant trial counsel of a special court-martial may perform any duty of the trial counsel.
An assistant defense counsel of a general or special court-martial may perform any duty imposed by law, regulation, or the custom of the service upon counsel for the accused.
(Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 50; Pub. L. 90–632, § 2(14),
Oct. 24, 1968, 82 Stat. 1338; Pub. L. 97–81, § 4(b), Nov. 20, 1981, 95 Stat. 1088; Pub. L. 98–209, § 3(e), Dec. 6, 1983, 97 Stat. 1394; Pub. L. 104–106, div. A, title XV, § 1502(a)(1), Feb. 10, 1996, 110 Stat. 502; Pub. L. 106–65, div. A, title X, § 1067(1), Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 774; Pub. L. 113–66, div. A, title XVII, § 1702(c)(3)(C), Dec. 26, 2013, 127 Stat. 957; Pub. L. 114–328, div. E, title LVII, § 5221, Dec. 23, 2016, 130 Stat. 2909; Pub. L. 115–91, div. A, title V, § 531(c), Dec. 12, 2017, 131 Stat. 1384.)
cite as: 10 USC 838