September 28, 2010
When it comes to crimes involving members of the military, each individual can be tried in civilian or military court. Either way, it does not matter where the crime happened.
Prosecutors claim McConnell Air Force Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez engaged in unprotected sexual relations with several people, without telling them he was HIV positive.
Sgt. Gutierrez will begin his trial process with an Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a civilian grand jury.
Along with prosecutors, the defense counsel, the Senior Staff Judge Advocate and any witnesses, Sgt. Gutierrez will appear in a courtroom on the McConnell Air Force Base.
At that point, both sides will give their case, and the decision will be made as to whether or not there is enough evidence to refer the case to a Court-Martial.
Sgt. Gutierrez was formally charged by his Commander, alleging aggravated assault, violating an order, indecent acts, adultery, and obstructing justice.
According to Lt. Col. Tom Herthel, Staff Judge Advocate at McConnell Air Force Base, severe cases such as this usually end up as a General Court-Martial, which is presided over by a military judge and more than five court members, with no minimum punishment.
Sentencing follows the Court-Martial process, and ends with the base Commander approving or mitigating the sentence.
Sgt. Gutierrez's Article 32 Hearing will be held at the Law Center on McConnell Air Force Base on October 5.