Defense counsel cannot argue irrelevant matters that are raised in the unsworn statement

  1. militarylawyersucmj2367762015If 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.
  2. 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).
  3. For more discussion on what matters may be covered in an unsworn statement, see the “Findings and Sentencing” Outline.