Article 32 preliminary hearings in Korea
service members accused of a crime face an even tougher battle under the new laws
The new changes to the Article 32 preliminary hearing is just another example
of the slow and steady dismantling of the rights of accused service members.
Early 2015 saw yet another essential tool in the defense’s arsenal
get stripped of its utility by the prosecutorial allies of the government.
What was once an effective means of discovery into the prosecution’s
case has become what some would call a mere formality worth skipping over.
Bilecki & Tipon may not be fans of the new Article 32 preliminary hearings,
but that hasn’t stopped us from diligently preparing for them. We’ve
known about these changes for some time now and understand their implications
to our client’s cases. And while these rules may
delay our discovery of key facts about the prosecution’s case, it never
hides those facts forever.
At the same time, we also know that there can be strategic and tactical
waiving the Article 32, and that such a decision cannot be made unless and until
a thorough defense investigation has been initiated.
Changes to the Article 32 Preliminary Hearing: the breakdown
Before 2015, Article 32 investigations had a few striking differences when
compared to their civilian counterparts. The most important of these differences
had to do with how the preliminary hearing was conducted. Before, an Article
32 investigation acted almost like a mini-trial before the actual court
martial proceedings began. The defense had a chance to call the alleged
victim to the stand to learn more about the prosecution’s case.
Both sides could cross-examine witnesses and admit evidence. In some cases,
the defense could obtain a favorable recommendation as to disposition
from the Article 32 Investigating Officer and the case would not proceed to trial.
Today, the Article 32 preliminary hearing is much more in line with the
civilian preliminary hearing. These preliminary hearings have a single
purpose, and that’s to determine whether there is probable cause
that the accused committed the crime. Furthermore, victims of an accused
crime can deny the defense’s request to take the stand in a preliminary
trial, thus blinding the defense to a key part of the prosecution’s
strategy. Meanwhile, the have the ability to listen in to the entire proceeding
with their military appointed attorney. Giving them key insight into the
Strategy is now more imortant than ever in determining to attend or waive
the article 32
Anyone who believes that preliminary hearings are formalities worth ignoring
is fooling themselves and their clients. Bilecki & Tipon understands
that these proceedings are still full of opportunities and are worth exploring.
The more chances we have at discovering the prosecution’s strategy,
the likelier it is we can gain the upper hand in court.
However, doing so involves risk, as the government also has an opportunity
to learn about the defense’s case and understand the weaknesses
of their trial. Attending or waiving an Article 32 is a very complex strategic
decision that cannot be taken lightly and must be made in conjunction
with the defense investigation and ultimate trial strategy.
If you’re facing tough charges and you need an experienced law firm
that takes every aspect of your case seriously, then you need to contact
Bilecki & Tipon TODAY at (800) 996-9747.