For those of you legalish people who are keeping the Bradley Manning court-martial in the back of your minds, now is the time to start peeking at the headlines occasionally.
“Referral” is a precise legal term in the Uniform Code of Military Justice that signifies the point at which a Commanding General/Admiral decides to send a case to court-martial. Unlike civilian courts where the District/County/State Attorney makes such determinations, courts-martial occur at the will of military commanders, and their attorneys merely provide advice.
It is significant because a judge will now be assigned to his case and motions practice begins.
Now, we should start seeing fights over discovery, oodles of motions in limine, illegal/improper pretrial confinement/punishment motions, speedy trial fistfights, venue mud-wrestling, and unlawful command influence battle royales.