Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
Issue link: http://uscgproceedings.epubxp.com/i/617100
36 Proceedings Winter 2015–2016 www.uscg.mil/proceedings help improve the S&R process and administrative hearing procedures. The center is located in Martinsburg, West Vir- ginia, and its attorneys and experienced investigating off- cers support S&R actions throughout the country. While IOs are primarily responsible for investigating cases, collecting facts, uncovering regulatory and legal violations, and preparing complaints, current Coast Guard policy mandates attorney participation in all S&R proceedings. In most cases, Coast Guard active duty or civilian attorneys from the S&R NCOE or servicing district legal offce will typically start providing this support near the time of the investigation's completion. These attorneys are involved in all prehearing matters, including prehearing conferences, motions and discovery practice, and witness preparation. Attorneys also participate with an IO in every suspension and revocation hearing. The Process Similar in form to federal civil or criminal trial practice, a suspension and revocation hearing involves: • an opening argument from the Coast Guard presenting witness testimony and other evidence to support allega- tions in the complaint, • direct and cross examination, • the respondent's defenses or mitigating facts, and • a closing argument. 2 Further, administrative law judges typically expect post- trial briefs, which Coast Guard attorneys also support. Additionally, S&R NCOE attorneys now write all appeal A suspension and revocation (S&R) proceeding is a legal mechanism by which the Coast Guard exercises author- ity over a mariner's credentials. Subject to the Adminis- trative Procedures Act, the S&R proceeding was originally designed to be a more effcient alternative to the federal court system. Coast Guard investigating offcers, or IOs, are specifcally trained and qualifed to investigate alleged regulatory vio- lations (such as negligence, incompetence, or drug use) that could affect a mariner's ability to hold a Coast Guard-issued credential. 1 For decades, Coast Guard IOs presented the government's case, based on their investigations, at admin- istrative hearings, effectively arguing for suspension or revocation of a mariner's credential. Due to the administra- tive nature of the hearings, IOs often prepared and argued their cases without the assistance of a Coast Guard attorney. Legal Support In recent years, however, S&R hearings have become increasingly complex and formalized. Administrative law judges (ALJs) have demanded stricter adherence to proce- dural and evidentiary rules, and respondents (mariners) have hired legal counsel or received free legal assistance from a growing list of attorney volunteers to defend S&R actions. Though most investigating offcers receive case pre- sentation training, these developments led the Coast Guard to realize a greater need to provide dedicated legal support for suspension and revocation cases. In 2008, the Coast Guard established the Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise (S&R NCOE) to Service to the Mariner and the Public Bringing Coast Guard attorneys into the S&R process. by MR. BRian C. CRoCKett Attorney U.S. Coast Guard Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise LCDR DaMian yeMMa Attorney U.S. Coast Guard Investigations National Center of Expertise Suspension and Revocation National Center of Expertise