There’s been some discussion below of the date on which CCA rulings take effect. CAAF’s case law indicates that a CCA opinion doesn’t take effect until 30 days from when it is issued, unless the Judge Advocate General decides to effectuate it sooner.
In United States v. Miller, 47 M.J. 352 (C.A.A.F. 1997), CAAF emphasized that CCA opinions aren’t self-executing. Id. at 361. A CCA “depends on the Judge Advocate General and lower officials to execute its orders.” Id. In a case where a CCA’s decision would result in the accused being released from confinement, CAAF ruled, “[i]f the Judge Advocate General immediately decides not to pursue a case any further, there must be immediate notice to the convening authority of the opinion of the Court of Criminal Appeals and immediate direction to release an accused or conduct a hearing under RCM 305 . . . on pretrial confinement.” But a Judge Advocate General has up to 30 days to decide “whether to accept the lower court’s opinion or to pursue it further by way of a motion for reconsideration or certification” to CAAF. Id. During that 30-day period, “an accused remains in confinement because the opinion below is inchoate. This reflects Article 66(e), which does not require the Judge Advocate General to provide the convening authority with notification and instructions to release the accused or conduct an RCM 305 hearing ‘unless’ there will not be further consideration by other authorities–a formulation which implies, for instance, that the 30 days that Congress gave the Judge Advocate General to decide whether to certify a case is a reasonable period of time to withhold this release instruction.” Id. at 361-62. [Note that it wasn’t actually Congress that established the 30-day certification period, but rather CAAF through the exercise of its rulemaking authority.]
CAAF then indicated, however, that even if the Judge Advocate General chooses to certify the case to CAAF, the CCA opinion takes effect 30 days from when it was issued: “After considering the matter, if the Judge Advocate General decides to certify a case to this Court, an accused’s interest in the favorable decision of the court below (even if inchoate) requires either that the accused be released in accordance with that decision or a hearing on continued confinement be conducted under RCM 305.” Id. at 362.