Defense counsel cannot argue irrelevant matters that are raised in the unsworn statement
The defense counsel cannot argue irrelevant matters that are raised in the unsworn statement. (see Sentencing Argument Overview)
- If the accused, in the unsworn statement, mentions irrelevant matters, the military judge may issue a Friedmann instruction. This typically arises when the accused mentions the punishments that other co-accused in the case have received. This instruction comes from United States v. Friedmann , 53 M.J. 800 (A.F. Ct. Crim. App. 2000). The instruction tells the panel that those comments are irrelevant.
- See also United States v. Barrier , 61 M.J. 482 (C.A.A.F. 2005) (the right to allocution is broad, and largely unfettered, but it is not without limits); United States v. Sowell , 62 M.J. 150 (C.A.A.F. 2005).
- For more discussion on what matters may be covered in an unsworn statement, see the “Findings and Sentencing” Outline.