More Common Court-Martial Questions Answered

Can my unit place me in pre-trial confinement or restrict my movements?

Yes, they can. You need to demonstrate that you are not a flight risk or a danger to the community to avoid this. There are many reasons why your commander would order you into pre-trial confinement. Your commander has to have probable cause that you are either a flight risk or danger to the community. Pre-trial confinement severely limits your freedom; unlike the civilian world, you are not afforded bail.

If you continue to violate no contact or other orders, your unit commander can order you to pre-trial confinement and/or limit your movements to the battalion footprint or even your barracks with an escort. Other means of restrictions include restrictions to post, or checking in with your command every few hours. Whatever happens, the preferred course for an accused service member is to simply to stay off the radar and avoid trouble.

What is an Article 32 hearing? What do you hope to accomplish in an Article 32?

An Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury indictment. In an Article 32 hearing, an investigating officer considers witness testimony and reviews the relevant documents to determine if sufficient evidence exists to refer the case to a general court-martial.

Following the hearing, the investigator then compiles a report and makes a recommendation to the Convening Authority, who then decides whether to refer the charges to a general court-martial or some lesser form of court-martial, or to dismiss the charges. For the defense, the Article 32 hearing is a chance to discover the facts and size up witnesses as they testify.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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