J.A.G. General Orders

From Expansion Fleet
Jump to: navigation, search



Under the jurisdiction of the Chief of Fleet Operations, the Office of the Judge Advocate General enforced all administrative law within the ranks of Starfleet. The JAG carries out investigations of wrong-doing by Starfleet officers and convenes courts martial when necessary. Although the Judge Advocate General herself is headquartered at Starfleet Command, the JAG maintains offices on all major starbases. Any incident requiring the intervention of the JAG is referred to the nearest local office, though extremely important cases or those involving high-ranking officers are often pulled back to Starfleet Command for the JAG's personal attention.

In addition to upholding Starfleet's Uniform Code of Justice, the JAG investigates and prosecutes cases involving violations of Starfleet's General Orders, the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets, and the laws of Federation member worlds. The Judge Advocate General's office has jurisdiction over any member of Starfleet accused of wrongdoing, even if the violation occurred under local law. Normally, on a member planet, local authorities remand the accused officer to Starfleet's custody, and the officer is tried under the Uniform Code of Justice. On a non-aligned planet, however, this is largely a question of custody; once in an alien jail, it is within the planet's rights to try the accused. Starfleet, however, works hard to convince the planet's government to surrender the accused for court martial proceedings. This isn't always successful, and more than one officer had faced trial on an alien world, under unfamiliar (and sometimes poorly understood) laws. Often, in the case of laws broken on a nonmember world, the JAG office will invite a representative of the local government to observe, or even present evidence.

JAG Investigations

Most JAG offices retain several highly trained investigators to inquire into wrongdoing, or possible wrongdoing. Typically, these investigators travel with their own security teams, and standard protocol calls for a starship captain (or starbase commander) to put the ship's (or base's) security forces at a visiting investigator's disposal. Their task is to gather facts and evidence and determine if a court martial is warranted. JAG investigations continue until the case is solved, or no clear determination can be made (at which point the file is left open until new evidence may be brought to light). Although all Starfleet captains can call for a JAG investigation of personnel under their command, most ranking officers prefer to conduct their own inquiries and submit their own subordinates for court martial. Normally, JAG investigators become involved in a case only when a member of Starfleet is accused of wrongdoing by someone outside of his chain of command. If no JAG officer is available to conduct an investigation, it falls to the highest ranking officer to appoint and investigator - normally the ship's Security Chief.

Starfleet personnel who show particular aptitude in law, or who attended law school on their homeworlds, are frequently tapped to serve in the JAG Corps for at least one tour of duty. This is not restricted to those with a legal bent, however. The JAG officer requires officers with a nose for the truth and an unswerving devotion to the principles, rules, and regulations that govern Starfleet. Security officers, science officers, or other experts in the field could find themselves detailed to the JAG Corps for a particular investigation. The Center for Advanced Training provides classes to those who desire legal training, most notably those Command personnel aiming for promotion to Starfleet's upper echelons.

Courts Martial

Although most infractions can be handled through less severe reprimands, or short incarceration in a brig, some crimes are so severe as to warrant a court martial. A court martial is a trial under Starfleet's Uniform Code of Justice, as opposed to Federation civilian law, and is conducted by a committee of officers.

Any officer of the rank of Captain or higher can submit a subordinate officer for immediate court martial (though frivolously abusing this right is itself a court martial offense). Officers of the Judge Advocate General's office have the power to submit any member of Starfleet for court martial, as long as they first submit an approved finding to a JAG officer of the rank of Captain or higher. Once it has been called, a court martial is typically convened within seventy-two hours. As part of the formal order of court martial, the presiding representative of the JAG's office nominates both a prosecuting advocate and an advocate for defense. Typically, both advocates are officers from the local JAG office, however, the JAG representative can nominate any available Starfleet officers as ad hoc advocates. The accused always had the right to refuse the nominated defense advocate and either serve as his own lawyer or appoint an eligible officer of his choice.

A panel of three judges presides over a court martial proceeding, usually officers from the JAG office. If none are available, the JAG office typically appoints an ad hoc judge - the fleet admiral for the sector. Only officers ranked Commander or higher can serve as judges, and no officer with an obvious conflict of interest, such as friendship, is allowed to serve. If possible the JAG representative who signs the order for court martial appoints a full three-judge panel.

Procedurally, a court martial is handed very much like a civilian crime trial. Both sides make opening statements, the prosecution presents its witnesses and evidence, the defense presents its case, and both sides make closing arguments. Each side had the right to cross-examine the witness presented by the other side, and almost all the rules of evidence and courtroom procedure applicable to civilian trials apply equally to courts martial. Unlike civilian trials, however, court martial proceedings do not employ juries; guilt or innocence is determined by the panel of judges. Courts martial tend to be less formal affairs, moving along at a much faster pace than a civilian trial, and rarely take more than a week to complete.

In the next chapters, we will go more into specific detail on JAG procedures.

JAG Procedures


1-1. The theater strategic environment consists of a variety of conditions-- political, economic, and military--and a range of threats--low to high. A wide range of operations can occur in response to these conditions and threats. These operations form the operational continuum and occur within three general states: peacetime competition, conflict, and war. SF 100-5, Operations, and SF 100-10, Combat Service Support, recognize Starfleet must be capable of operating effectively across the operational continuum and in any environment.

Legal operations must be equally flexible. Legal operations apply to all conflict tenets of initiative, agility, depth, and synchronization and the service support imperatives of anticipation, integration, continuity, responsiveness, and improvisation to provide responsive legal services to the commander.

The Judge Advocate General's Corps

1-2. Reflecting Starfleet's strategic roles in an increasingly complex universe, the JAGC provides mission essential legal services in many different fields, including military justice, planetary contracting, claims, litigation, operational law, interplanetary law, legal assistance, environmental law, mobilization law, and more. All members of the Judge Advocate General's Corps--judge advocates, legal warrant officers, legal noncommissioned officers, legal specialists, and court reporters--provide professional legal services to Starfleet.


1-3. Starfleet's mission is to:

a. Provide a visible, credible, and realistic capability to support the Federation's political initiatives.

b. Deter war against the Federation.

c. Win and terminate a conflict on terms favorable to the Federation if war should occur.

d. Research and exploration of space.

1-4. The JAGC's primary mission in a theater of operations is to support the commander of his assigned unit by providing professional legal services as far forward as possible at all echelons of command throughout the operational continuum.

Legal services

1-5. Legal personnel provide legal services in the form of professional advice, representation, support, research, training, and assistance designed to resolve legal issues to commanders, staffs, and other authorized personnel. The commander determines legal requirements based on the mission and the law. Legal services are an element of the Personnel Support Services (PSS) mission area and support the Command and Control and Combat Service Support (CSS). Three types of legal services exist: organizational, judicial, and defense.

1-6. Organizational legal services sustain the organization. Organizational legal services support:

a. Commanders. The commander is responsible for the unit's good order, discipline, morale, and welfare. The commander must command and employ his forces in accordance with the law. Legal personnel provide all commanders the legal services necessary to properly execute these responsibilities under the law, customs, and traditions of Starfleet service.

b. The organization. Legal operations increase unit readiness in peace and enhance combat effectiveness in war. In peace, legal operations ensure the organization is prepared to mobilize, deploy, and fight. During conflict, legal operations help sustain the organization.

c. Starfleet Personnel. The key to an organization's readiness is the individual persons readiness and morale. Legal personnel provide legal services-such as legal assistance and claims--to personnel, their family members, and other authorized personnel to maintain a high degree of personal readiness and morale. Legal services, including judicial and defense legal services, also maintain discipline and morale by assuring the fair and impartial administration of justice.

1-7. Judicial legal services secure fair and impartial justice proceedings within Starfleet. Starfleet trial and appellate judges provide judicial legal services.

a. Military trial judges preside over general and special courts-martial. They perform all judicial duties required or authorized by law, including the Uniform Code of Starfleet Justice (UCSJ), the Manual for Courts-Martial, and regulation. These duties are similar to those of planetary district court judges presiding over criminal cases. Starfleet trial judges also perform magistrate duties, such as issuing authorizations to search for and seize evidence based on probable cause. To ensure the fact and appearance of impartiality, Starfleet judges are assigned to and rated by senior members of Starfleet's Trial Judiciary, which is independent of the units they serve. (The only exception being Starfleet judges assigned to Judge Advocate General Service Organization senior judge or judge teams)

b. Starfleet appellate judges sit on the Starfleet Court of Review (SCR). SCR reviews cases referred to it and affirms only findings of guilty and sentences supported by the law and facts.

1-8. Defense legal services are provided to individual personnel to secure fair and impartial justice and adverse administrative proceedings within Starfleet. Trial and appellate defense counsel provide defense legal services.

a. Trial defense counsel are judge advocates certified by The Judge Advocate General under article 27(b), UCSJ, as competent to perform defense legal services. They represent personnel before courts-martial, administrative boards, and other proceedings and act as consulting counsel as required by law or regulation or authorized by The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) or TJAG's designee. To ensure the fact and appearance of their independence, all trial defense counsel are assigned to and rated by members of the Starfleet Trial Defense Service, which is independent of the units trial defense counsel serve. (The only exception is trial defense counsel assigned to Judge Advocate General Service Organization court-martial defense teams)

b. Appellate defense counsel represent accused before the SCR, Starfleet Court of Appeals, and the Federation Supreme Court. They also are certified by The Judge Advocate General.

1-9. The JAGC provides legal services in seven functional areas.

a. Administrative Law. Administrative law encompasses the statutes, regulations, and judicial decisions that govern the establishment, functioning, and command of Starfleet organizations. Judge advocates interpret statutes and regulations, provide the commander and staff advice and guidance, and represent Starfleet before administrative and judicial proceedings. Administrative law includes, but is not limited to:

(1) The law of Starfleet installations and the commanded power to command and control the installation (legal basis of command).

(2) Starfleet assistance to civil authorities, which includes the use of forces to assist civilian law enforcement authorities, to restore and maintain public order, and for emergencies and public safety; the loan of military resources; and the role of personnel in civil disturbance operations.

(3) Planetary litigation, which includes judicial review of Starfleet judicial and administrative actions.

(4) Environmental law, which includes domestic--planetary, state, and local--and interplanetary environmental laws affecting the operations of an installation or organization.

(5) Starfleet personnel law, which includes laws and regulations concerning personnel recruitment, mobilization, appointments, promotions, adverse actions, separations, and retirements.

(6) Line of duty investigations and determinations.

(7) Labor and employment law, which includes laws, regulations, and procedures governing recruiting, hiring, evaluating, and disciplining civilian employees; labor-management relations including grievances, arbitrations, and unfair labor practice charges.

(8) Government information practices, which include the Freedom of Information and the Privacy Acts.

(9) The report of survey system.

(10) Nonappropriated fund instrumentalities and private organizations.

(11) Standards of conduct, which include statutory and regulatory guidance governing prohibited activities and conflicts of interest involving active duty, civilian personnel, former employees, and retired active duty and civilian personnel of Starfleet.

b. Claims. Starfleet claims program involves the investigation, processing, and administrative settlement of claims - both by and against Starfleet - interplanetary under statutes, treaties, interplanetary agreements, Starfleet directives, and Starfleet regulations.

(1) The bases for claims against Starfleet include:

a. Damage or injury caused by the negligent or wrongful acts or omissions of Starfleet personnel acting within the scope of their employment.

b. Damage or injury caused by noncombat activities; i.e., activities that are essentially Starfleet in nature and have little parallel in civilian life.

c. Loss, damage, or destruction of personal property of personnel or civilian employees under Direct Authority of Starfleet; e.g., the loss, damage, or destruction of household goods during a permanent change of station move.

d. Unique or special claims provisions.

(2) The bases for claims in favor of Starfleet include:

a. The negligent or intentional infliction of damage to Federation property.

c. Contract Law. Contracting is the principal means by which Starfleet acquires goods and services from the private sector. Judge advocates are involved in all phases of the acquisition process. Contract law judge advocates provide advice concerning acquisition process and statutory and regulatory constraints involved in providing for Starfleet operations. They also provide counsel on the acquisition of goods and services for Starfleet. Contract law includes:

(1) Development, award, and administration of appropriated and nonappropriated contracts.

(2) The proper utilization and expenditure of material.

(3) The operation of the Commercial Activities Program.

(4) The coordination and monitoring of remedies in an effective fraud abatement program.

(5) The application of federation, planetary, and local laws to government contractors.

(6) Contract related litigation, disputes, and protests.

(7) Labor, environmental, and intellectual property law applicable to contractors.

(8) Procurement integrity and contract fraud laws.

(9) Advice for proposed interservice, interdepartmental, and interplanetary agreements for logistic support and for proposed agreements on joint utilization of facilities and real property controlled by Starfleet.

(10) Advice on interplanetary real estate and construction issues.

d. Criminal Law. Criminal law governs the administration of Starfleet justice. It includes the Federation Constitution, the Uniform Code of Starfleet Justice, the Manual for Courts-Martial, implementing regulations, and judicial decisions. Starfleet justice involves the disposition of alleged violations of the UCSJ by judicial (courts-martial), nonjudicial (article 15, UCSJ), or administrative means. Discipline, good order, and morale depend on a fair and properly administered Starfleet justice system. Enforcement of the UCSJ supports the authority of the commander and protects the rights of the individual personnel. In the Starfleet criminal law system:

(1) The commander is responsible for the administration of Starfleet justice. Commanders must communicate directly with their command or staff judge advocate about matters related to the administration of Starfleet justice.

(2) Staff and command judge advocates advise commanders on the disposition of suspected violations of the UCSJ, including those committed by enemy prisoners of war; prosecute trials by courts-martial; and supervise the preparation of records of trial.

(3) The Starfleet Trial Defense Service provides trial defense counsel to represent personnel before courts-martial, adverse administrative boards, and other proceedings as law or regulation requires.

(4) The Starfleet Trial Judiciary provides judges for general and special courts-martial.

(5) Appeals of convicted Starfleet accused may be reviewed by the Starfleet Court of Review (SCR), which is part of Starfleet's Judiciary; the Starfleet Court of Appeals; and the Federation Supreme Court. In cases not reviewed by SCR, a convicted accused may submit an application for relief or petition for new trial to The Judge Advocate General. The Starfleet Legal Services Agency provides appellate government and defense counsel in all appellate proceedings.

e. Interplanetary Law. Interplanetary agreements, interplanetary customary practices, and the general principles of law recognized by civilized worlds comprise interplanetary law. Judge advocates advise commanders and staffs on:

(1) The rights and obligations of the organization under interplanetary law--particularly status of forces and host world support agreements.

(2) Negotiations with foreign governments.

(3) The exercise of criminal jurisdiction over Federation forces and accompanying personnel by foreign governments.

(4) Foreign Law. This includes advice on criminal law, civil law, environmental law, tax law, and labor law of a host world where foreign forces are operating or have an interest.

(5) Legal liaison with the host world and other allied forces.

(6) Other interplanetary law matters.

f. Legal Assistance. Legal assistance is the provision of personal legal services to personnel, their family members, and other authorized personnel. Legal assistance includes advice, representation, and the preparation of legal documents. Personal legal problems, if not attended to, may cause low morale, inefficiency, and disciplinary problems. Legal assistance judge advocates regularly participate in preparation for interplanetary movements (PIM) and emergency deployment readiness exercises (EDRE) to identify and address personnel personal legal problems that could affect adversely their ability to mobilize, deploy, and fight. Legal assistance services include, but are not limited to:

(1) Domestic relations law, which includes divorce, legal separation, annulment, custody, support obligations, and paternity.

(2) Wills and estates.

(3) Adoptions and name changes.

(4) Nonsupport and indebtedness.

(5) Landlord-tenant relations.

(6) Consumer affairs.

(7) Civil suits. Legal assistance attorneys usually cannot represent a client in court, but will explain the procedures and requirements of small claims and similar courts; will negotiate with adverse parties on the client's behalf; and will refer the client to a civilian attorney, if required.

(8) The Starfleet Civil Relief Act.

(9) Veterans' reemployment rights.

(10) Other services with approval of the staff judge advocate.

g. Operational Law. Operational law is the application of domestic, interplanetary, and foreign law to the planning for, training for, deployment of, and employment of Starfleet forces. Operational law legal services increase the effectiveness of Starfleet forces by assisting commanders to employ them lawfully. Just as important, judge advocates identify areas in which planners have been overly restrictive in the use of force in the mistaken belief that the law requires the restrictions. Judge advocates:

(1) Advise the commander, staff, and subordinate commanders on the law of war; all relevant interplanetary law matters, including status of forces and other interplanetary agreements and treaties; and domestic law addressing the use of Starfleet forces abroad, such as the War Powers Resolution. These matters include advice on:

a. Operations plans and orders.

b. Targets and weapons.

c. The investigation and disposition of alleged violations of the law of war (war crimes).

d. Treatment of detainees, enemy prisoners of war, and refugees.

e. The seizure and requisition of private properly for military use.

f. The legal aspects of civil affairs operations.

(2) Prepare legal annexes to operations orders.

(3) Review and interpret rules of engagement.

(4) Provide unit training on the law of war as required by treaty and regulation.