Sentencing Complexities in National Security Cases

5 Pages Posted: 21 Mar 2015

See all articles by Chris Jenks

Chris Jenks

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

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

Suggested Citation

Jenks, Chris, Sentencing Complexities in National Security Cases (February 1, 2015). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Vol. 27, No. 3, 2015, SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 168, Available at SSRN:

Chris Jenks (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics