Overview of Article 32 Hearing

Article 32 hearings are conducted by a preliminary hearing officer, Judge Advocate, that is responsible for considering all the evidence presented by the parties during the Article 32 hearing and evaluating that evidence compared to the charges and specifications preferred (brought) against the accused in a military justice action. The Article 32 hearing can dispose of the case, if the preliminary hearing officer believes insufficient evidence exists to support the charges or it may result in a case being referred to a General Court-Martial or lesser Court-Martial action.

The government, trial counsel, has the obligation of presenting evidence sufficient to an investigating officer, specifically preliminary hearing officer to determine whether sufficient evidence exists at the Pre-trial Preliminary Hearing phase. The Preliminary Hearing Officer will not only examine the evidence, but will also make a recommendation to the commander bringing the Court-Martial or military justice action as to the proper Disposition of the case.

Fierce Advocates for Military Members

Our Fierce Advocates are dedicated to presenting compelling information and defenses at the Article 32 hearing phase, not only to convince the Preliminary Hearing Officer that insufficient evidence exists, but also to show the trial counsel and commander that they may lose the case, if it is taken to a Court-Martial. Commanders and their trial attorneys or prosecutors do not want to be exposed to the negative optics of losing a Court-Martial and therefore presenting a compelling defense at the Article 32 stage may convince the prosecutor to seek an alternative disposition in the military justice action.

An Article 32 hearing affords military defense attorneys the opportunity to evaluate the government’s evidence, present evidence in defense against the charges, and gain access to witness statements, the results of the investigation by military police or CID, and the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses called by the government and call witnesses in defense.
Cross-examination of government witnesses in an Article 32 hearing can preserve problems in the government’s case as well as important defense evidence. The testimony obtained through cross-examination at an Article 32 hearing can be compelling evidence to seek dismissal or exclusion of evidence in a pre-trial motion before the Court-Martial is heard.

Article 32 hearings provide military defense counsel and the accused the opportunity to see the government’s best evidence to support the charges and the ability to diminish the credibility of evidence or witnesses to the commander and the Investigating Officer. When a Preliminary Hearing Officer is convinced that the government cannot support some or all of the charges and specifications brought against the Accused; the Judge Advocate will recommend dismissal to the commander, which can greatly improve the accused position going forward.

Retaining a Fierce Advocate and experienced military criminal defense attorney can be the difference in the outcome of your military justice case. Retaining a civil military defense attorney ensures that you an outside attorney can evaluate the case and hold the government to their burden, not only at the Article 32 stage, but for the remainder of the prosecution and Court-Martial action, if the case goes that far. Detailed Trial Defense Counsel often have little to know trial or Court-Martial experience and likely do not have trial experience for the charges you are facing. Detailed military defense counsel will almost certainly not have ten years of military defense experience and criminal trial experience.

What Rights Do You Have at an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing?

  • Right to your Military Criminal Defense Attorney to Fight for You
  • Information and Explanation of the Charges under the Article 32
  • Make any statement in your Defense
  • Representation by Counsel of your Choice
  • Advisement of the right against Self-Incrimination
  • Presentation of any evidence in your Defense
  • Personal presence during the presentation of evidence
  • Advisement of any other evidence against you
  • Cross-examination of any and all Witnesses
  • Advisement of any Witnesses against you
  • Knowledge of the Identify of the Accuser in your Case
  • Knowledge of the Purpose of the Article 32 Preliminary Hearing

Should I Waive my Right to an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing?

No, you should almost never waive your right to an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing. The hearing affords you and your experienced military criminal defense attorney the opportunity to identify and uncover the government’s evidence against you. The government will give you a preview of their case and the narrative they will rely on in prosecuting your Courts-Martial. Additionally, you will be able to hear actual witness testimony against you in many instances, which will give you insight into the strength of the government’s witnesses.

Finally and most importantly, a positive outcome from an Article 32 hearing can result in your military justice action, including charges and specifications being dismissed or being sent to a lower level action than a General Court-Martial.

Contact – Cannon & Associates: Experienced Military Criminal Defense Attorneys

Experience matters when you are facing an Article 32 Preliminary Hearing and criminal charges in the military. It is important to know the military criminal defense lawyer you hire is dedicated to your cause and versed in all aspects of military law. Cannon & Associates is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy and will fight for your rights. Being arrested for a criminal offense in the military is serious and can lead to tough consequences, but Cannon & Associates is here to support and guide you through all of your options, from beginning to end. We are dedicated to helping you resolve your dispute in the most advantageous setting and are ready to help you get the relief you need.

Our team has years of Judge Advocate experience and stand ready to be your Fierce Advocates. Contact Cannon & Associates to protect your rights and fight for your military defense. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.