After reviewing the AFCCA rule changes that go into effect on Monday, there don’t appear to be many major changes. In fact, a number of the changes are internal–new title for the chief judge, designation and seniority of judges, who reports to whom, more court staff roles defined and some moved from one position to another, clarification on publication of cases, etc. Other changes are simply stylistic (italicizing Amicus Curiae and other Latin terms and updating the change from Air Force Legal Services Agency to Air Force Legal Operations Agency and updating the name of the base on which AFCCA sits, for example). Other changes aren’t really changes at all; they just move a paragraph from one section to another.

One item that struck me was that the court’s hours are 1/2 hour shorter, and they are no longer listed using “military time.” Interesting switch.

Rule 1.9 sets out the procedures for cases involving contraband, where the old rule was primarily concerned with classified information. Rule 5 has changed quite a bit with a section on electronic filing and the different filing deadlines, depending whether documents are filed electronically or on paper. Not surprisingly, Rule 15.1(e) on service of pleadings has been updated, as well, and counsel will want to review Rule 16.1 for new requirements for filing pleadings in cases with oral argument.

Another noticeable difference is that the period for attorneys not members of AFCCA’s bar to apply for court membership or move to appear pro hac vice (Rule 5.8) has been shortened. For other rule changes related to admission to the court through the Judge Advocate Staff Officer Course and honorary membership, see Rule 8. Notice of Appearance for Counsel in Rule 13 has several new sections.

The disciplinary disclosures have been tightened (perhaps due to a certain former O-6?) in the new Rule 9. Where the old rule mentioned “promptly” reporting disciplinary measures, now the notification must occur “within 10 business days.” On the other hand, motions for the first enlargement of time now must come within 175 days from the receipt of the record of trial, versus the 90 days previously given. However, the first request for an enlargement has been reduced from 60 to 30 days as the usual period of enlargement. Defense counsel, in particular, will want to read Rule 24.1(b)(3) carefully regarding the contents of such requests.

The guidelines for Motions under Rule 23 are much more specifically tailored, and Rule 15 on Assignments of Error and Briefs got shortened. Appellate counsel will welcome the change to Rule 15.1 regarding briefing Grostefon or “personally raised” issues. Counsel are no longer required to brief such issues, unless the Court requires them to do so. Motions to Reconsider got some revamping in Rule 19. The Appendices add samples for Briefs Submitted on Merits and Oppositions to Motions. Rule 20 on Petitions for Extraordinary Relief is redone and corrects an error from the earlier version of the rules at 20.1(1).

The rule regarding Article 62 appeals has several new sections setting out more specifically what must be included in government appeals.

There are also new rules on the use of media in the courtroom (Rules 16.2 and 27).

Happy reading!

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