Sentencing Complexities in National Security Cases
5 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2015
Date Written: February 1, 2015
Military national security courts-martial infrequently occur. When they do occur, military counsel, judges, and court personnel endeavor to perform their function at a high level. Unfortunately, the process by which the U.S. government conducts classification reviews and the military’s inexperience in national security cases often results in the form of safeguarding classified information trumping the substantive function of the underlying trial process. And by the time the sentencing phase is reached, understandable but unfortunate focus is placed on simply concluding the trial without mishandling classified information.
This article examines the sentencing complexities in military national security cases, first defining a national security case and then distinguishing Department of Defense prosecutions from those by the Department of Justice. Following that, this article explains the challenges national security cases present, including the introduction of classified information and the difficulty in correlating degrees of potential harm to national security to a level of punishment.
Keywords: national security, sentencing, classified, department of defense, DOD, evidence, CIPA, classified information procedures act, military commissions, military rule of evidence 505, MRE 505
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