What To Expect
During the Article 32 process
Van Ackeren, P.S., represents members of all branches of the military facing court-martial offenses anywhere in the world. As a member of the military, you are subject to the legal process outlined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). You have the right to retain your own article 32 attorney to advise and represent you throughout the process. Contact our office in Tacoma, Washington, to speak with attorney Cheryl Van Ackeren by phone at 253 442-6700.
What to Expect Throughout the Court-Martial Process
Military courts do not use the same rules as civilian courts and require an attorney who knows the rules. The Rules for Court-Martial (RCMs) and Military Rules of Evidence govern military courts. These rules and procedures apply equally in general and special courts-martials.
Pretrial confinement is not ordered in every case. Your commanding officer may place you in pretrial confinement if there is a reasonable belief you have committed an offense, triable by court-martial, and if the circumstances warrant pretrial confinement. If you are placed in pretrial confinement, you have the right to be informed of the offenses against you, the right to remain silent, the right to retain civilian counsel at no expense to the government, and the right to request assignment of military counsel.
Within 72 hours of being placed in pretrial confinement, your commanding officer must prepare a memorandum stating the reasons for your confinement. This memorandum is forwarded to a review officer, who conducts a hearing to determine whether continued confinement is warranted within 7 days of confinement. This hearing is critical because there is no bail in the military system. If the review officer finds continued confinement is warranted, then you will likely remain in pretrial confinement until the trial is completed.
Article 32 Investigation and Hearing
If the charges against you are serious, (potentially warranting the punishment of imprisonment with an officer, or over one year with an enlisted service member), then your command is likely to refer your charges for a preliminary investigation, under Article 32 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. This investigation is an Article 32 Investigation. The Article 32 investigation begins when your commanding officer appoints an impartial investigating officer to determine whether reasonable grounds believe:
Whether there is sufficient evidence that an offense occurred and you committed the offense,
Whether the charges against you are in proper form, and
Whether a general court-martial is the appropriate level of disposition for your case.