By Jim Emerson, staff writer
Staff Sargent Robert Bales was charged with 16 counts of premeditated murder of Afghanistan civilians. SSG Bales will attend an Article 32 hearing scheduled for 17 September at an undisclosed location. SGT Bales will be accompanied by his defense team and the hearing will be also attended by the Army prosecution team and the investigating officer. This hearing will formally announce a decision for a trial based upon the investigating offer’s recommendations of the sufficiency of the charges against SSG Bales warrants a court-martial.
An Article 32 hearing is required by the United States Uniform Code of Military Justice where an investigating officer determines the evidence supports the charges filed against the defendant. If the investigating officers believe the charges are warranted than the case can be brought. In this particular case there will be a trial before a general court martial. This hearing does not determine guilt or innocence. In the civilian court this is similar to the preliminary hearing (evidentiary hearing) where a judge determines if the prosecutor has sufficient evidence for a trial.
In cases where the charges are so serious in nature that they would require a trial by a general court-martial a commissioned officer is assigned to consider the evidence. The officer, usually a military attorney (judge advocate), is not and will not be part of the trial process. His or her job is only to determine if the charges and evidence meet the charges then report those findings in a recommendation to the convening commander. The investigating officer must be impartial.
General Court Martial
The general court-martial tries the most serious violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice those that would be similar to a felony case in a civilian court. The court will be composed of a military judge and at least five members consisting of five commissioned officers or enlisted members if the defendant requests them. This court can impose the death penalty, life without parole, prison time, demotion or a Bad Conduct discharge.
Hopefully this will give the reader some understanding of the procedures the military follows before bringing an accused soldier before a trial.
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This day in history July 14
1798: The Sedition Act, the first major government assault on our freedom of speech, becomes law. To support his plan to drag America into World War I, Democrat President Woodrow Wilson used the Sedition Act to suppress his opponents. To read more about Wilson’s assaults on American freedoms get your copy of Coach’s new book Crooks Thugs and bigots: the lost hidden and changed history of the Democratic Party available at: http://crooksthugsandbigots.com
In this world you may have knowledge or you may have repose, but you may not have both.
What have you done today to deserve to live in America?
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