As a Member of the Military, When Can You Consult With Defense Counsel?

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Interviewer: At what point does counsel come in to represent you if you are in the military?

Chris: It changes but you can be allowed counsel once you’ve been read your rights.

You can enter into attorney-client privilege, but, generally, you won’t see your detailed defense counsel until referral of charges. A lot of things could’ve happened from the time the investigation began to the time that referral of charges occurred.

Military Personnel Are Allowed Counsel Once Charges Are Preferred

Interviewer: Will military personnel usually have counsel by the Article 32 hearing?

Chris: Once charges are preferred, which is before the article 32 hearing, you have counsel.

Interviewer: You have this hearing and what happens from there? What are the stages from there?

Chris: After the article 32 hearing for general court-martial, the investigating officer forwards his or her recommendation to the convening authority. The convening authority makes a decision whether or not the case goes forward to a general court-martial.

He or she may move it to a special court-martial, but, if he or she decides to move forward and believes that there is enough evidence to move forward in the case, then you will go to a court-martial. That will be the actual court hearing itself.

Are Military Defendants Placed in Jail Until Their Court Martial?

Interviewer: Are the defendants arrested and placed in a military holding area on base?

Chris: Military personnel will be ordered to a confinement at post after the court-martial. Generally, time is served at a local confinement facility at the base. Sometimes, depending on the size of the base, military personnel may go to a local jail.

They have fee agreements to let prisoners go to other bases. If you have a lengthy confinement such as greater than six months, you will be generally transferred to a long-term confinement facility, such as the one in Miramar or Charleston or Fort Leavenworth.

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