Article 32 Preliminary Hearing

What is an Article 32 Hearing?

An Article 32 hearing is a preliminary hearing in the military justice process. The prosecutor presents the facts and argument to a preliminary hearing officer. The preliminary hearing officer reviews the evidence from both parties. After, the preliminary hearing officer will recommend whether the charge should continue to trial. The officer will also suggest what forum the case should be referred to (court-martial, administrative hearing). In short, an Article 32 hearing is the beginning stage of criminal litigation.

When does an Article 32 hearing happen?

An Article 32 hearing occurs after a charge has been preferred. However, it occurs prior to a general officer refers the case to a general court-martial. Often, the government will have spent months investigating the allegations. The prosecutor will have reviewed the investigation and drafted the charge sheet. Once someone prefers the charge, the convening authority will appoint a preliminary hearing officer to hear the case.

The time between receiving a charge sheet and attending the preliminary hearing is fairly short. Sometimes, the time is less than a week. Once problem with the military justice system is a detailed defense counsel is often only assigned to a case after someone prefers the charge. So, service members are left in the dark during the investigation. But, there are no prohibitions preventing a service member from hiring a civilian military defense attorney during the investigation phase.

Experienced Article 32 Hearing Attorney

To successfully defend a case during the preliminary hearing, service members should work with an experienced Article 32 hearing attorney. There are dozens of tactical and strategic considerations to discuss prior to a preliminary hearing. And because there are ways to kill a case at this stage, leaving the preparation to the last minute is not the ideal plan. Instead, service members should develop a plan by discussing their case with Kevin Courtney Law.

I was charged with article 120 towards the end of my Marine Corps career. It was a bad situation from the get go, she made a false sexual assault allegation to cover up her mistake. It was basically my word verses hers. On top of the “he said she said” was a very biased investigation done by NCIS which kind of left evidence up in the air. Thankfully I had Kevin in my corner to walk me through everything. It was a very long painful process but I was always in the loop and always felt like I was being taken care of… He was every smart and articulate in the court room and was able to clearly poke holes in every single one of the Trial Counsel’s arguments. There was never a time that he was taken by surprise with what anyone on the Trial Counsel [Team] had to say. During the week of the trial Kevin was confident with what they had prepared and was able to lighten the mood during such a horrible time, even taking time to make sure my wife was in the loop and feeling good about the situation. I would recommend Kevin to anyone, he’s a great lawyer and a great man.

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Schedule a Call to Discuss Your Preliminary Hearing

It is never too soon to discuss your case with an attorney. However, if you wait, there may come a time when it is too late to successfully prepare a defense. Call 760-385-3889 and talk with Kevin Courtney Law today and start planning your defense.