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e-CFR data is current as of September 28, 2020

Title 32Subtitle AChapter VISubchapter GPart 776Subpart C → §776.84


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


§776.84   Ethics investigation.

(a) When an ethics investigation is initiated, the covered attorney concerned shall be so notified, in writing, by the Rules Counsel. Notice of such action shall also be provided as outlined in §776.81(b) of this part.

(b) The covered attorney concerned will be provided written notice of the following rights in connection with the ethics investigation:

(1) To request a hearing before the investigating officer (IO);

(2) To inspect all evidence gathered;

(3) To present written or oral statements or materials for consideration;

(4) To call witnesses at his or her own expense (local military witnesses should be made available at no cost);

(5) To be assisted by counsel (see paragraph (c) of this section);

(6) To challenge the IO for cause (such challenges must be made in writing and sent to the Rules Counsel via the challenged officer); and

(7) To waive any or all of these rights. Failure to affirmatively elect any of the rights included in this section shall be deemed a waiver by the covered attorney.

(c) If a hearing is requested, the covered attorney may be represented by counsel at the hearing. Such counsel may be:

(1) A civilian attorney retained at no expense to the Government; or,

(2) In the case of a covered USG attorney, another USG attorney:

(i) Detailed by the cognizant Naval Legal Service Office (NLSO), (or Defense Services Office (DSO), effective October 1, 2012), Law Center, or Legal Service Support Section (LSSS); or

(ii) Requested by the covered attorney concerned, if such counsel is deemed reasonably available in accordance with the provisions regarding individual military counsel set forth in Chapter I of the JAGMAN. There is no right to detailed counsel if requested counsel is made available.

(d) If a hearing is requested, the IO will conduct the hearing after reasonable notice to the covered attorney concerned. The hearing will not be unreasonably delayed. The hearing is not adversarial in nature and there is no right to subpoena witnesses. Rules of evidence do not apply. The covered attorney concerned or his or her counsel may question witnesses that appear. The proceedings shall be recorded but no transcript of the hearing need be made. Evidence gathered during, or subsequent to, the preliminary inquiry and such additional evidence as may be offered by the covered attorney shall be considered.

(e) The IO may appoint and use such assistants as may be necessary to conduct the ethics investigation.

(f) The IO shall prepare a report which summarizes the evidence, to include information presented at any hearing.

(1) If the IO believes that no violation has occurred or, by clear and convincing evidence, that the violation has occurred but 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 IO believes by clear and convincing evidence that a violation did occur, and that corrective action greater than counseling is warranted, he or she shall:

(i) Modify, as necessary, the list of substantiated violations of this part or, in the case of a military trial or appellate judge, the Code of Judicial Conduct;

(ii) Recommend appropriate action; and

(iii) Forward the ethics investigation to the Rules Counsel with a copy to the attorney investigated.

(g) The Rules Counsel shall review all ethics investigations. If the report is determined by the Rules Counsel to be incomplete, the Rules Counsel shall return it to the IO, 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 IO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the investigation, that a violation of subpart B of this part or Code of Judicial Conduct 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 notified 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 the IO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the investigation, that a violation of this part or Code of Judicial Conduct 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. (In cases relating to Marine judge advocates, including trial and appellate judges, in which the SJA to CMC is not the cognizant Rules Counsel, an information copy shall be forwarded to the SJA to CMC.) 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 notified 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 believes, either consistent with the IO recommendation or through the Rules Counsel's own review of the inquiry report, that professional disciplinary action greater than corrective counseling is warranted, the Rules Counsel shall forward the investigation, with recommendations as to appropriate disposition, to the JAG. (In cases relating to Marine judge advocates, including trial and appellate judges, in which the SJA to CMC is not the cognizant Rules Counsel, an information copy shall be forwarded to the SJA to CMC.)

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