TITLE 30
Military Affairs and Defense

CHAPTER 30-13
Rhode Island Code of Military Justice

SECTION 30-13-27


§ 30-13-27 Who may serve on courts-martial.

(a) Any commissioned officer of or on duty with the state military forces is eligible to serve on all courts-martial for the trial of any person who may lawfully be brought before these courts for trial.

(b) Any warrant officer of, or on duty with, the state military forces 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 these courts for trial.

(c)(1) Any enlisted member of the state military forces who is not a member of the same unit as the accused is eligible to serve on general and special courts-martial for the trial of any enlisted member who may lawfully be brought before these courts for trial, but the enlisted member shall serve as a member of a court only if, before the convening of the court, the accused personally has requested, in writing, that enlisted members serve on it. After that request, the accused may not be tried by a general or special court-martial the membership of which does not include enlisted members in a number comprising at least one-third (1/3) of the total membership of the court, unless eligible members cannot be obtained on account of physical conditions or military exigencies. If these members cannot be obtained, the court may be convened and the trial held without them, but the convening authority shall make a detailed written statement, to be appended to the record, stating why they could not be obtained.

(2) In this subsection, the word "unit" means any regularly organized body of the state military forces not larger than a company, a squadron, or a division of the naval militia, or a body corresponding to one of them.

(d) When it can be avoided, no person subject to this code may be tried by a court-martial any member of which is junior to that person in rank or grade.

(e) When convening a court-martial, the convening authority shall detail as members thereof such members as, in his or her opinion, are best qualified for duty by reason of age, education, training, experience, length of service, and judicial temperament. No member is eligible to serve as a member of a general or special court-martial when he or she is the accuser or a witness for the prosecution or has acted as investigating officer or as counsel in the same case. If within the command of the convening authority there is present and not otherwise disqualified a commissioned officer who is a member of the bar of the supreme court of the state and of appropriate rank and grade, the convening authority shall appoint that officer as president of a special court-martial. Although this requirement is binding on the convening authority, failure to meet it in any case does not divest a military court of jurisdiction.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1956, § 30-13-27; P.L. 1962, ch. 82, § 1.)