We recently ran a blog warning Soldiers of the fact that in Post-Trial Chapter 10 situations, the Convening Authority can still approve findings. Another recent trend we are seeing is that many military defense lawyers are deviating from the format provided in AR 635-200 which then gives the GCMCA the right to disapprove the request. There are many times for your court martial defense lawyer to be creative and think outside of the box, but we believe that Chapter 10 requests are not one of those times.
Deviating from the format provided in AR 635-200 by submitting a conditional Chapter 10 request certainly gives a GCMCA the right to disapprove the request. A GCMCA may not approve a Chapter 10 that is conditional and fail to comply with the condition. Some GCMCAs will accept conditional Chapter 10s and some will refuse to accept them as a class. Obviously, military defense attorneys would be well served to learn of the GCMCA's policy prior to recommending a client submit a post-trial Chapter 10.
If in the Chapter 10 request, your attorney adds the following provision: "This request is made on the condition that the Convening Authority, if he/she approves this request, will also disapprove the findings and sentence adjudged," the Convening Authority will not approve the Chapter 10 request and also not approve the findings. If you are considering a Chapter 10, ensure that you have discussed all of the issues with an experienced court martial defense lawyer and that the Chapter 10 is drafted properly and really in your best interest.