U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Several Articles 32 hearings for Air Force Academy cadets are scheduled to convene later in September.
On Sept. 24, a hearing is scheduled to be held for Cadet 2nd Class Daven D. Horne, charged on Aug. 23, with two specifications alleging Violation of Article 112a for the wrongful use of marijuana and cocaine.
Also on Sept. 24, a hearing is scheduled to be held for Cadet 2nd Class Harry T. Vaughn, charged on Aug. 30 with one specification alleging violation of Article 107 for knowingly making a false statement with intent to deceive an investigator. He was also charged with one specification alleging violation of Article 112a for the wrongful use of cocaine
On Sept. 28, a hearing is scheduled to be held for Cadet First Class Lars P. Knutson, and on Oct. 3, a hearing is scheduled to be held for Cadet First Class Michael B. Hannigan, who were both charged on Sept. 6 with one specification each alleging violation of Article 81 for conspiring with other cadets on several occasions between Sept. 1-29 2017 to commit an offense under the UCMJ, i.e., dereliction of duty (Article 92), and in order to effect the conspiracy, wrongfully and willfully coordinated and attended a hazing incident at the Academy. Cadets Knutson and Hannigan were also charged with one specification each alleging violation of Article 92 for dereliction in the performance of their duties in that they wrongfully and willfully failed to refrain from engaging in activities that constituted hazing, as it was their duty to do so. Additionally, both cadets were charged with one specification each alleging violation of Article 134 for wrongfully attempting to impede the investigation against them by influencing statements made to investigators by other cadets, resulting in the possible prejudice of good order and discipline and being of a nature to bring discredit to the armed forces.
An Article 32 hearing is similar to a civilian grand jury proceeding. The primary role of the hearing is to determine if probable cause exists to support the charge and its specifications. A preliminary hearing officer presides over the hearing, and submits his or her report of the proceedings with recommendations to the Special Court Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA). The SPCMCA (Commandant of Cadets) will then decide whether to dismiss the case, recommend to the General Court Martial Convening Authority (the Academy Superintendent) that the case be referred to a General Court-Martial, or dispose of the case through other disciplinary or administrative action.
It must be emphasized that charges are merely accusations, and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.