An accused in a General Court-Martial always has questions about the procedures. One of the most common questions is whether or not they should waive their Article 32 hearing and instead proceed without it. Waiving the Article 32 eventually results in the subsequent referral of the accused's charges to a court-martial trial. An Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding and is conducted to determine whether there is enough evidence to even justify a court-martial. Whether you should waive the Article 32 hearing or not is a decision that should be made in consultation with your Civilian Defense Counsel or military defense attorney, who can provide you with specific advice tailored to your situation.
Here are a few factors to consider when deciding whether to waive an Article 32 hearing:
Evidence: Your attorney will review the evidence against you and assess whether it is strong or weak. If the evidence is strong, some attorneys may advise you that it is not in your best interest to proceed with the hearing. However, understand that there are still weaknesses in the Government's case, and you are better served if your attorney points out those weaknesses and argues those defects before moving forward. Although a good attorney will always keep trial in mind, attacking the Government's case could potentially provide you with a favorable plea deal and at least you will have options even if you have every desire to proceed to trial and having your day in court.
Strategy: Your attorney will help you develop a legal strategy. Waiving the hearing might be part of a strategic decision, such as seeking a negotiated plea deal. This is a common reason why some attorneys will advise you to waive. However, good, experienced attorneys realize that it is aggressively pursuing trial and contesting everything that results in better plea deals. Waiving the Article 32 hearing so the Government lawyers don't have to work as hard is not path to a better plea deal. Aggressively pursuing trial, filing solid motions, that is a better strategy to giving clients' options.
Speed of resolution: Waiving the Article 32 hearing can lead to a quicker resolution of your case. If you're interested in resolving the matter swiftly, this may be a factor to consider.
Protection of rights: Your attorney will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the process, and they will advise you on whether waiving the hearing would be in your best interest in terms of your rights and the potential consequences.
Ultimately, the decision to waive or proceed with an Article 32 hearing should be based on careful consideration of your specific circumstances, in consultation with your legal counsel. Your attorney will be able to provide you with the most relevant advice and guidance based on their expertise and knowledge of the case.
If you are at this stage in your court-martial and you are facing the choice of waiving your Article 32 or proceeding with trial, fill out the "Contact Us" form now for a no-cost consultation with Gapasin Law Group, LLC.