Duty to provide instructions.
- The military judge ordinarily has no sua sponte duty to give these instructions.(Exceptions to this rule are found below).
- However, when the evidence relates to a central issue at trial, in some cases it may beplain error for the military judge not to give a sua sponte evidentiary instruction. See United States v. Kasper , 58 M.J. 314 (C.A.A.F. 2003) (when the government introduced “human lie detector” testimony through an OSI agent, it was plain error for the judge not to give a sua sponte curative instruction, even though defense counsel did not request one, because the testimony involved a central issue at trial — the appellant’s credibility).
- Evidentiary instructions are found in chapter 7 of the Benchbook.