Traveled to Yokosuka this week for an Article 32 hearing. An Article 32 hearing is analogous to a grand jury proceeding in civilian criminal law. An Art 32 officer, typically called the Investigating Officer, or IO, is appointed to conduct the hearing. The hearing is then scheduled for a specific date when the prosecution will present their evidence and the defense will have an opportunity to rebut the evidence and present their own evidence.
The purpose of the hearing is to give the IO the opportunity to examine all the relevant evidence and determine whether the prosecution has adequate evidence for trial. The burden the prosecution has to meet is “preponderance of the evidence,” sometimes described as 51%, or “more likely than not.” The prosecution does not have to meet the “reasonable doubt” burden at the Article 32, but will have to at the actual trial, if the case goes to trial.
After reviewing the evidence, the IO produces a report for the Command that convened the Article 32. The report provides the Commanding Officer with a comprehensive review of the case, including background data, the charges, the evidence, the witnesses, etc. The report also provides a recommendation to the Commanding Officer on how the case should be adjudicated.
I really like doing these Article 32’s. They give me a chance to keep my litigation skills honed, and also give me a chance to work with the other attorneys in the area. Plus, I have the opportunity to travel to Japan, one of my favorite places to visit.