Atty. Dan Snyder, Judge Advocate
Disciplinary Procedures for Post Club room infractions How to conduct a proper Hearing/Trial Provide for a quality post for members and their families
Overview Vocabulary Uniform post constitution and bylaws Article XII - Discipline of members in club rooms
– Section 1 – Section 2
Sample notification Trial Procedure Summary
Proper and fair conduct of the Disciplinary procedures and a posting of club room rules in the post help to eliminate confusion, confrontation, rage, and resentment among the membership Each step in conducting a hearing /trial provides due process for the members
3 person panel - Three members appointed by the Board of trustees to hear charges and issue necessary discipline Appeal – A request for the transfer of a case to a higher authority for rehearing Appeal Hearing – An appearance before the full Board of Trustees Board of Trustees – Commander, Past Commander, Adjutant, Finance Officer, Judge Advocate, and three trustees elected by and from among the membership Charges – A succinct list of allegations stating the offenses, date, & time of the offenses – in a format suggested by the Board of Trustees Club Rules – Regulations promulgated by the board of Trustees to maintain order & decorum in the post club room Hearing – An appearance before the three person panel Member – Veteran, Active duty, Guard, or Reservist who have served any time after Sept. 15, 1940 (Hon Discharge or Gen. under Hon conditions) Notification – Certified letter to the individual who has charges preferred against them listing the date & time for the hearing of the 3 person panel and if necessary the appellate hearing
Article XII Section 1
Posting club rules and regulations Example – No loud, vulgar,or abusive language in the clubroom. – No fighting on AMVETS premises How can you charge someone with an offence if they don’t know it’s an offence?
A) Any member may prefer charges against any other member for violation of club rules and/or regulations and charges shall be made in a format as suggested by the Board of Trustees. The charges shall set forth, as near as possible, the date, time and the basis for all charges. This means a member not a bar tender, Son or Auxiliary
Members of a subordinate organization may file a complaint with the chairman of the board of trustees who shall investigate and take appropriate actions as provided for in the constitution and by-laws.
B) All charges shall be filed with the Board of Trustees. The National Const & bylaws Article VII Section 3 b requires the Board of Trustees to oversee the operation of the club room therefore charges must be filed with the B.o.T. C) Charges shall be heard by a 3-person panel established by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees should at their first meeting following post elections establish a three person panel to hear charges as may be filed by members for infractions of club rules and regulations.
Section 2 cont.
D) No member against whom charges have been preferred, or who has preferred charges against, shall sit in judgment on any board, committee, or panel deciding the issue. This is quite simple if you have filed charges or if you have charges filed against you , you can not sit on any board including the Board of Trustees or panel that would hear such charges.
E) Members may be suspended from the use of the post club rooms by action of the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees can suspend club room privileges either thru the Board it self or the 3 person panel by concurring with the decision of the 3person panel. F) Any member under suspension of club room privileges shall not be permitted in the post until termination of the suspension, however, a member that is serving a suspension of club room privileges shall be permitted to attend post meetings, but said member must vacate the premises upon completion of the meeting. The suspended member may also participate in any and all AMVET functions the Board of Trustees can not suspend AMVET membership only the post can suspend membership and only in accordance with the provisions listed in the National Constitution & bylaws.
Section 2 cont.
G) A member who has been suspended from club room privileges may appeal the suspension to the Board of Trustees within ten days in writing. The member may then present their case to the Board of Trustees for consideration. It is a basic premise in law that every one has a right to an appeal so is the case with AMVETS The appeal process to the Board of Trustees is final and binding No one however is permitted to sit in judgment on both the 3 person panel and the Board of Trustees
H) Notification by the Board of Trustees to the member to whom charges have been preferred against, shall be by certified mail. The member has rights, the member must be notified of the 3 person panel hearing, date, and time by certified mail. The member must also be notified in the same manner for the appellate hearing if one is requested. The member has the right to be present at all hearing and to present evidence in the members defense. I) Guests of members violating the rules and regulations of this post shall be automatically suspended, and the member held responsible. Members are responsible for their guest if a guest disobeys the rules the member should escort the guest from the premise
Dear Mr. ---You are hereby cited to appear for trial at the AMVETS Post – at 8:00p.m. on Wednesday November 15, 200_, to show cause why you should not be suspended from the club room on the following charges: [Text of charges and specifications] By order of the Board of Trustees, adopted at its meeting on October 14, 200_ Joey E. Brown, President Post __ Board of Trustees
The Accused has rights to counsel, to speak, and to produce witness in his defense Defense counsel may or may not be an attorney but must be a member unless the trial body agrees other wise Non member Witness should be allowed in the room only while testifying
Call to order Declare the meeting to be in Executive Session and to the attendants the obligation of secrecy The Chair will determine from the secretary that the accused was furnished a copy of the charges and inquires as to whether the accused has counsel The chair directs the secretary to read the charges
The chair poses the question to the accused guilty or not guilty first to the specification then each of the charges If a plea of guilty is entered there is no trial and the meeting proceeds directly to the penalty stage If the plea is not guilty the chair explains the following steps
1) Opening statements from both sides 2) Testimony of witness produced for the Board of trustees 3)Testimony of Defense witnesses 4) Rebuttal witnesses on behalf of the Board then the Defense if any 5) Closing statements by both sides During this process no one shall have the floor except for the prosecutor and the defense and they must address the chair before questioning a witness
After closing remarks all non members of the board and the accused are asked to leave the room The Chair after debate then puts the question to the board on each charge as to guilty or not If found guilty the Board would move to the penalty stage After voting is complete the accused is brought in and advised as to the decision if the accused has left the premise them notification shall be by registered mail
The trial is a formal hearing on the validity of the charges and as such should not be taken lightly Since a trial is a serious event and should be rarely used a discussion with an offending party may circumvent the need for a trial In all cases make sure the entire procedure is fair and honest you do not want the stigma of a kangaroo court