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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 20, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VISubchapter GPart 776Subpart C → §776.83


Title 32: National Defense
PART 776—PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF ATTORNEYS PRACTICING UNDER THE COGNIZANCE AND SUPERVISION OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL
Subpart C—Complaint Processing Procedures


§776.83   Preliminary inquiry.

(a) The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is to determine whether, in the opinion of the officer appointed to conduct the preliminary inquiry (PIO), the questioned conduct occurred and, if so, whether the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that such conduct constitutes a violation of subpart B of this part or the Code of Judicial Conduct. The PIO is to recommend appropriate action in cases of substantiated violations.

(b) Upon receipt of the complaint, the PIO shall promptly investigate the allegations, generally following the format and procedures set forth in the Manual of the Judge Advocate General (JAGMAN) for the conduct of command investigations. Reports of relevant investigations by other authorities including, but not limited to, the command, the Inspector General, and State licensing authorities should be used. The PIO should also:

(1) Identify and obtain sworn affidavits or statements from all relevant and material witnesses to the extent practicable;

(2) Identify, gather, and preserve all other relevant and material evidence; and

(3) Provide the covered attorney concerned an opportunity to review all evidence, affidavits, and statements collected and a reasonable period of time (normally not exceeding 10 calendar days) to submit a written statement or any other written material that the covered attorney wishes considered.

(c) The PIO may appoint and use such assistants as may be necessary to conduct the preliminary inquiry.

(d) The PIO shall personally review the results of the preliminary inquiry to determine whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, a violation of subpart B of this part or of the Code of Judicial Conduct has occurred.

(1) If the PIO determines that no violation has occurred or that the violation is minor or technical in nature and warrants only corrective counseling, then he or she may recommend that the file be closed.

(2) If the PIO determines by a preponderance of the evidence that a violation did occur, and that corrective action greater than counseling may be warranted, he or she shall:

(i) Draft a list of substantiated violations of these Rules of Professional Conduct or the Code of Judicial Conduct;

(ii) Recommend appropriate action; and

(iii) Forward the preliminary inquiry to the Rules Counsel, providing copies to the covered attorney concerned and the supervisory attorney.

(e) The Rules Counsel shall review all preliminary inquiries. If the report is determined by the Rules Counsel to be incomplete, the Rules Counsel shall return it to the PIO, or to another inquiry officer, for further or supplemental inquiry. If the report is complete, then:

(1) If the Rules Counsel determines, either consistent with the PIO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the report, that a violation of this part has not occurred and that further action is not warranted, the Rules Counsel shall close the file and notify the complainant, the covered attorney concerned, and all officials previously provided notice of the complaint. OJAG (Code 05), OJAG (Code 13), and/or JAR, as appropriate, will maintain copies of all correspondence related to the closing of the file.

(2) If the Rules Counsel determines, either consistent with a PIO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the report, that a violation of subpart B of this part has occurred but that the violation is of a minor or technical nature, then the Rules Counsel may determine that corrective counseling is appropriate and close the file. The Rules Counsel shall report any such decision, to include a brief summary of the case, to the JAG. The Rules Counsel shall ensure that the covered attorney concerned receives appropriate counseling and shall notify the complainant, the covered attorney concerned, and all officials previously provided notice of the complaint that the file has been closed. OJAG (Code 05), OJAG (Code 13), and/or JAR, as appropriate, will maintain copies of all correspondence related to the closing of the file. The covered attorney concerned is responsible, under these circumstances, to determine if his or her Federal, state, or local licensing authority requires reporting such action.

(3) If the Rules Counsel determines, either consistent with a PIO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the report, that further professional discipline or corrective action may be warranted, the Rules Counsel shall notify the JAG and take the following action:

(i) In cases involving a military trial judge, if practicable, forward the recommendation to a covered attorney with experience as a military trial judge (normally senior to and of the same Service (Navy or Marine Corps) as the covered attorney complained of and not previously involved in the case) and assign the officer to conduct an ethics investigation into the matter (see R.C.M. 109 of the Manual for Courts-Martial);

(ii) In cases involving a military appellate judge, forward the recommendation to a covered attorney with experience as a military appellate judge (normally senior to and of the same Service (Navy or Marine Corps) as the covered attorney complained of and not previously involved in the case) and assign the officer to conduct an ethics investigation into the matter (see R.C.M. 109 of the Manual for Courts-Martial); or

(iii) In all other cases, assign a covered attorney (normally senior to the covered attorney complained of and not previously involved in the case) to conduct an ethics investigation.

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