On 28 October, Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH10) introduced a bill to amend Article 32, UCMJ. Among some of the major changes, the bill gets rid of the troublesome “reasonable grounds” non-burden of proof in favor of a probable cause requirement, mandates that the investigating officer be a judge advocate except in “exceptional cases,” defines the accused’s pre-investigation discovery rights, and eliminates the accused’s right to request a re-investigation.
Additionally, there seems to be a concerted effort to limit the scope of the investigation, including explicitly stating that the investigation “shall not be to serve as discovery tool for the accused.” There’s also an effort to protect complaining witnesses by giving them the right to refuse to testify. If the complaining witness does refuse to testify, the investigating officer must deem them unavailable for the purposes of the investigation. It seems likely that at least some changes are responsive to the outcry following the recent Article 32 at the USNA.
The bill has been referred to committee and the full and relatively short text of the bill is available here. Currently, GovTrack gives the bill only a 6% chance of getting past committee and 1% chance of being enacted. But then again, all some people need is a chance. Either way, this bill is worth keeping an eye on, as it seems to have at least some features that both TCs and DCs could get behind.