News | May 20, 2013

Appellate Government (Code 46)

By LT Lindsay Geiselman, Appellate Government (Code 46)

If you want a bird’s eye view of the trial process, a tour in an appellate code at Navy-Marine Corps Appellate Review Activity (NAMARA) is a must.  The intricacies of litigation are not truly appreciated until you have sifted through a record of trial while researching an appellate issue.   Appellate practice can be likened to looking out the window on an airplane at the streets and cars down below,  suddenly you start to see the way motions, providence inquiries, stipulations of fact and pre-trial agreements are connected in a carefully crafted infrastructure of justice.  With military justice being an integral part of a Navy judge advocate’s skill set, anyone looking to sharpen their familiarity with the Uniform Code of Military Justice should consider a position at NAMARA.  Whether you have your eye towards trial litigation or are considering a staff judge advocate billet, the perspective appellate practice allows will help refine your approach to future courts-martial, staff judge advocate recommendations, pre-trial agreement negotiations, and more.

In Appellate Government in particular we represent the United States before the Navy Marine Court of Criminal Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and the United States Supreme Court in courts-martial appeals and petitions for extraordinary relief by Navy and Marine defendants.    We are located in Washington D.C. at the Washington Navy Yard.  A member of Appellate Government can expect to participate in brief writing, oral arguments, and peer review of both the written and spoken areas of appellate advocacy.  We commonly deal with issues of sentence appropriateness, providency of pleas, and unreasonable multiplication of charges, although this limited list does not come close to encompassing the variety of complex assignments of error we have responded to on behalf of the Government.  

A job at Appellate Government goes well beyond using case research and intensive record review to preserve courts-martial convictions.   We are constantly analyzing current case law from both the federal system and our sister services, noting statutory interpretations and tracking trends to keep the U.S. Navy military justice practice on the cutting edge of criminal law.  In turn, we pride ourselves on creating avenues of outreach to share our knowledge with Government counsel practicing law at the trial level.   At all times we have duty appellate counsel standing by to assist prosecutors in the field with potential appeals and trial rulings.  Ultimately, our goal is to protect the interests of the United States while preserving the integrity of the justice system.