TITLE 30
Military Affairs and Defense

CHAPTER 30-13
Rhode Island Code of Military Justice

SECTION 30-13-54


§ 30-13-54 Voting and rulings by court-martial.

(a) Voting by members of a general or special court-martial upon questions of challenge, on the findings, and on the sentence shall be by secret written ballot, provided that, upon questions of challenge, the challenged member shall not be entitled to vote. The junior member of the court shall in each case count the votes. The count shall be checked by the president, who shall forthwith announce the result of the ballot to the members of the court.

(b) The law officer of a general court-martial and the president of a special court-martial shall rule upon interlocutory questions, other than challenge, arising during the proceedings. Any ruling made by the law officer of a general court-martial or by the president of a special court-martial upon any interlocutory question other than a motion for a finding of not guilty, or the question of the accused's sanity, is final and constitutes the ruling of the court. However, the law officer or president may change the ruling at any time during the trial except a ruling on a motion for a finding of not guilty that was granted. Unless the ruling is final, if any member objects thereto, the court shall be cleared and closed and the question decided by a voice vote, as provided in § 30-13-55, beginning with the junior in rank.

(c) Before a vote is taken on the findings, the law officer of a general court-martial and the president of a special court-martial shall, in the presence of the accused and counsel, instruct the court as to the elements of the offense and charge the court:

(1) That the accused must be presumed to be innocent until his or her guilt is established by legal and competent evidence beyond reasonable doubt;

(2) That in the case being considered, if there is a reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the accused, the doubt must be resolved in favor of the accused and he or she must be acquitted;

(3) That, if there is a reasonable doubt as to the degree of guilt, the finding must be in a lower degree as to which there is no reasonable doubt; and

(4) That the burden of proof of establishing the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt is upon the state.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1956, § 30-13-54; P.L. 1962, ch. 82, § 1.)