Being titled in the military is as simple as being placed in the subject block of a CID, OSI, or NCIS report of investigation. When an investigation begins, the investigator on the case only needs to develop credible information that a person committed a crime. Credible information can be as little as an alleged victim’s first statement to military police. Titling is not a legal decision; it is strictly investigative. So, when a person is titled, that doesn’t mean he or she actually committed any crime. Simply put, to be titled is to be listed as the subject of an investigation.
DoD Instruction 5505.07, Titling and Indexing in Criminal Investigations, establishes the DoD’s policies and procedures for titling and indexing subjects of criminal investigations. This policy requires the titling and indexing of any service member under criminal investigation “as soon as the investigation determines there is credible information that the subject committed a criminal offense.” This is an incredibly low standard. Once the subject of a criminal investigation has been indexed in the federal law enforcement database (DCII), “the information will remain in the DCII, even if the subject if found not guilty of the offense under investigation.” The only exceptions to this policy are where “there is a mistaken identity or it is later determined no credible information existed at the time of titling and indexing.”
While the burden to title someone is quite low, the burden it places on the person titled can be heavy. When a service member is titled, the report of investigation is indexed in the Defense Clearance and Investigations Index (DCII). Once a person is titled and indexed, the record can be on file and accessible for up to 40 years. Unfortunately, a titling determination can remain on record even when a service member never received any type of punishment, administrative or judicial, and was honorably discharged from the military!
When a person is titled, the record can be (and often is) accessed during background checks for such things as employment and education applications. This record can be likened to an arrest without further prosecution in the civilian world. It will often require explanation and can be a determinative factor for employers, educational institutions, state agencies and other areas where background checks are required.
When a person has been indexed after titling, there are ways to attack the record and amend or delete the titling decision. For example, titling information indexed in the DCII can be expunged or corrected if the titling resulted from mistaken identity or if no credible information existed at the time the titling decision was made.
As one may imagine, a request to amend or delete a titling decision is a tall task. Doing so often requires combing through investigative files, statements, interviews, and other records created throughout the investigation and strategically building a case based on all the information available. An experienced military lawyer has the skills and expertise to effectively build and present a case to amend or delete a titling decision.
MJA has experience successfully appealing titling decisions. If you have been titled, please contact Military Justice Attorneys today to speak with one of our attorneys about your options.