1 January 2019
The Criminal Law Department at The Judge Advocate General's Legal Center and School, US Army (TJAGLCS) produces this deskbook as a resource for Judge Advocates and Paralegals, for both training and actual practice in UCMJ proceedings. The deskbook is a reference, practical guide, and training tool that covers the substantive and procedural aspects of military justice. It is a thorough resource and an excellent starting point for research. However, the deskbook is not an all-encompassing academic treatise. Readers must carefully review relevant caselaw and other primary sources, and form their own opinions about the interpretation of precedent or policy.
History of the Deskbook. Deskbooks at TJAGLCS exist in each of the academic departments, and all of them began as an outline for Officer Basic Course and Graduate Course students. During the 1990s, the Criminal Law Deskbook took many forms–one version for the Basic Course, another version for the Graduate Course, etc. A new deskbook would be generated and printed for each newly-arriving course.
In the mid-2000s, the various versions of the deskbook were consolidated into two volumes of substantive and procedural criminal law. A third volume was added to address advocacy, and a fourth volume was added in 2011 to address special topics like capital and complex litigation. In 2013, the Criminal Law Department combined all of the volumes into a single deskbook. In 2015, the deskbook was updated and edited resulting in a smaller document. In 2017, the deskbook was reorganized to put chapters into chronological order more consistent with criminal procedure, and all of the advocacy chapters were removed. The advocacy chapters were edited and included in the 2017 update to The Advocacy Trainer. Also, all of the policies and programs related to SHARP, FAP, SVC, VWL, and victim’s rights were consolidated into one chapter.
The January 2019 version of the deskbook is the first version to reflect changes to the military justice system resulting from the Military Justice Act of 2016, most of which took effect as of 1 January 2019. The July 2018 version of the Criminal Law Deskbook was the most recent version to address pre-Military Justice Act law and procedure. Practitioners must always consider the applicable effective date of Military Justice Act provisions when conducting research because the date of the offense may dictate whether or not certain Military Justice Act amendments apply in a particular situation.
Moving forward, the Criminal Law Department will continue to assess the usefulness and value of the deskbook chapters with the following factors in mind: (1) existing criminal law publications already available to the field; (2) the role of TJAGLCS and the Criminal Law Department in the training and development of Judge Advocates and Paralegals; and (3) the mission of the Criminal Law Department to provide quality ABA instruction to our LL.M. students.
We ask for your input. Readers are encouraged to note any discrepancies or make any suggestions to improve this deskbook. Please contact the TJAGLCS Criminal Law Department with your suggestions; contact information is provided on the following page of this deskbook.