Regulations for the government of the United States Navy (1865)

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Section 3.

Summary Courts-Martial.

1247 In conformity with the ninth section of the "Act to provide a more efficient discipline for the Navy," the following rules and forms, approved by the President of the United States, are to be observed by summary courts-martial convened under the authority of said act :

  1. Summary courts-martial will adopt the same forms of proceedings and rules of evidence as naval general courts-martial, so far as they shall be applicable and not inconsistent with the conciseness and precision enjoined by the law, nor with the provisions of this general order.
  2. The form of convening a summary court-martial will be by a brief written order addressed by the Commander of the vessel to the senior member of the court, stating the names and rank of the members of the court, and of the recorder, and of the time and place of meeting, and by written or verbal orders to the other members of the court and the recorder. The written order to the senior member will be appended to the record of the proceedings.
  3. The record will state that the oath prescribed by the law was duly administered to each member and to the recorder in the presence of the accused.
  4. If objection is made by the accused to any member of the court, it will be so stated in the record of proceedings, and made known, if the court think fit, to the Commander of the vessel, who will, at his discretion, order another member of the court, or continue the member objected to.
  5. The accused shall be furnished, before trial, with a written specification of the offence, or offences, for which he is to he tried. The specifications shall be as brief as practicable, without unnecessary repetition, or circumlocution, or accumulation of epithets, but explicit ; and all offences or misconduct committed at any one time by the same individual, and intended to be charged against him, shall be comprised in the same specification, which shall be approved, before trial, by the officer ordering the court, and a duplicate of it be annexed to the record.
  6. The accused shall not be required to plead guilty or not guilty to the specification ; but if a plea of guilty be made, the court may, at its discretion, admit testimony as to the character of the offender, or in extenuation of the offence. And, in any case, the court may find the accused guilty of the whole or any part of the misconduct charged, according to the evidence, and adjudge punishment for so much as shall be found proved,
  7. Witnesses shall be summoned by the recorder through the Executive Officer of the vessel, and the summons shall be obeyed, unless disapproved by the Commanding Officer for some reason to be stated in the record.
  8. The court, if requested by the accused, may allow a commissioned, warrant, or petty officer to appear as counsel, and cross-examine witnesses in his behalf ; but no written defence or argument, nor any protracted oral defence or argument, shall be admitted. Nor shall any testimony not clearly relevant be admitted, nor any documentary evidence be read to the court or appended to the record.
  9. If more than one Case be tried by the same court, the record of each case shall be separate ; the order for convening the court shall be appended to the record of the first case, and be referred to in each subsequent record, so as to show that the proceedings of the court are continuous. And in each case the prescribed oath shall be administered anew to the members and the recorder of the court.

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