This article surveys decisions, which impact instructions, issued by the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) and the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) during the 2003 term. These decisions are organized based on their influence in the following areas: (1) offenses; (2) defenses; (3) sentencing instructions; and (4) evidentiary instructions. This year's cases illustrate the difficult challenges that trial judges and practitioners face when drafting instructions. Several cases remind practitioners of the wisdom of simply following the pattern instructions. Conversely, another case shows that judges must be able to deviate from the model instructions when necessary. All of these cases, however, illustrate that preparing instructions requires thought and care.
Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAGCNet): www.jagcnet.army.mil
The Army Lawyer (May 2004), p.52-74