Civilian police were involved. Who may prosecute me? The State or the Military?
If the incident resulting in the current investigation occurred off-post, then the civilian police will initiate the investigation, and will likely perform much of the crime scene investigation, as well as the police interrogations. The civilian county prosecutor can keep jurisdiction of a case depending on whatever policies or politics are played surrounding the incident. If the incident you were involved in is one that is high-profile where numbers of county citizens have some kind of interest in the case, then the county prosecutor could very well maintain jurisdiction, in which case you would have to hire a lawyer who is licensed in the state that the county is located in. Most of the time, and I would actually say about 90% of the time, the county respects the desire for the military and that accused Soldier, to prosecute their own under military laws, and give up jurisdiction of the case to the military.
CID asked me to go to their office and give a statement. I would like to cooperate, but I have concerns. Should I be concerned?
Yes you should be -- CID is out for one thing, a confession, and CID doesn't care how it goes about to get the evidence to close the case. The purpose for CID to get you into their office is not to simply interview you, its to interrogate you. They are not out for information, they are out to prosecute you, and to help in conducting a prosecution. Investigators may say that they are out for the truth and just to get information together for the prosecutors, but that's not true. They will investigate for as long as necessary to implicate whoever it is that is suspect number one. However, after having been a defense lawyer for as long as I have, I can also tell you that they will stop investigating when they get what they want. If CID has spotty DNA evidence against you, even if the DNA evidence does not fit the facts, they will stop investigating so this "magic evidence" can be used against you even if you are an innocent accused.
Law enforcement took my computer and searched my home. What are my rights during the investigation?
You have the right to reject the search and any seizure of your personal belongings. Law enforcement will always want your consent first. This way, they do not have to seek out a warrant through a military magistrate (or in the case of the civilians, from a county judge). Just because law enforcement shows up at your house and wants to force themselves inside your home does not mean you have to agree. You have rights -- and one of those is to not agree to searches of your private place, or to the seizure of your things. Let law enforcement do the work -- let them first get a warrant to conduct a search and to show probable cause to conduct that search before a military magistrate.
According to my chain of command, I'm still being investigated. What happens after the investigation is closed?
Once the investigation is closed, the investigation file is reviewed by the prosecutors with the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. Disposition of the case, or what the command intends to do with you, depends on the legal advice it receives from the Staff Judge Advocate and the prosecutors who review your investigatory file. After the investigation is closed, expect some disposition of your case to take place, which can range from a nothing to a letter of reprimand or Article 15 up through a court-martial. Sometimes, units will move forward with the preferral of charges before an investigation is complete. This frequently happens when, for example, DNA evidence is collected but USACIL still has not obtained results from the DNA testing. Units may move forward with preferring charges if it feels it has enough to go on. Those DNA results may then be received a month or so or even longer after the preferral of charges.
Can I see the evidence against me? I would like to read the witness statements law enforcement claims to have.
With CID, usually no. When an investigation is pending, CID will not typically release any documents from the investigation file. If the county police is conducting the investigation, every now and then, those who are suspects or witnesses may be able to get a copy of the statement they write. These witnesses frequently provide copies of their statements to friends who are suspected of wrongdoing. The police will not directly provide witness statements to a suspect, however. Usually suspects do not get copies of any of these documents until they move from being suspects, to being the accused in a court-martial.
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