Diversion from Court

Diversion from court-martial

Not every case has to go to trial, nor should it

The following are recent examples of clients who were under investigation, and which have been resolved in the client's favor. In each case I was able to guide the client through the process, monitor and at times get progress, intercede with investigators, prosecutors, or commands, and help the clients understanding of what was going on and how best to respond to developing events.

The earlier we are involved the better the chance of an alternate resolution other than prosecution.

A major accused of sexual harassment, stalking, and related conduct will be allowed to retire in grade.

Colonel: accused of sexual molestation against his daughter. Held past approved retirement date for about seven months. When the allegations expanded to include some pretty bizarre allegations against the wife and mother, the case took a turn in the colonel's favor - as it should have done. This case illustrates how even bizarre sexual allegations are being treated. Unfortunately the next issue to deal with is being "Titled." It is very difficult to be untitled, even though you can request a change in the records.

Captain: accused of negligent homicide. Tragically her husband committed suicide. CID decided that she may have waited too long to call for an ambulance and thus delayed "saving him." This was based on some initial erroneous observations by medical personnel. Our experts were prepared to say that any quicker action would not have resulted in a different result. Initially government experts thought otherwise. Regardless, the captain and her grieving children have now moved on without any adverse action.

Staff Sergeant: arrested and accused of soliciting for prostitution by civilian authorities, the command decided to OTH him. The civilian charges will soon be dismissed. Because the solicitation happened on duty, in uniform, and in a government car, he was discharged with a general discharge.

Seaman: accused of selling prescription medications to another Seaman on several occasions. Summary court-martial and a general discharge.

Seaman: accused of hazing by setting up a prank birthday "present." Essentially another seaman offered to have birthday sex, and the offer was to be video-recorded. But before sex happened the joke was revealed to the unsuspecting seaman. A second allegation arose because the female in the "joke" claimed the client was being "handsy" with her. Initially the second allegation was investigated as a potential sexual assault. Discharged with an honorable discharge characterization.

Investigations take time – I have and have had clients waiting months, sometimes years, for an investigation to close and action be taken. We can help during this time – it is a roller-coaster time – we are often the only people firmly on your side during this time.

Several positive results with the theme of roller-coaster

O-6 client retired just recently in-grade. This was the end of what he characterized as a tumultuous roller-coaster time. About two and a half years ago he started the ride with an allegation of rape made against him. I was asked to and did join him for the ride at that time as his military defense lawyer. That allegation was quickly followed by removal from a high-visibility position, and from that brake on his career came the notice his retirement was cancelled. We shared this ride with various halts along the way to deal with one issue or another leading finally to a retirement grade determination.

This case and the one below are current examples of how long it is taking for sexual assault allegations to be investigated and dealt with. During that time each of the clients were sidelined in their career and their life put on hold with a daily concern about what's going to happen. The major was fortunate in having a supportive command.

For more than a year I had been assisting a client alleged to have physically abused his baby. During this period of time the local civilian CPS agency took the baby -- this was partly because they didn't know who had harmed the child. CPS claimed it was either the mother or father (yes FAP and the Army claimed it was the father - who else –they assume man/father is guilty). But the parents claimed it was malpractice at the hospital during some treatment. Regardless, CID got on the trail, and so as we got closer to the client's ETS the uncertainty increased. But now we can say that the client was discharged with an honorable discharge, the baby is back with her parents, and the baby is thriving. A consideration to take from this example is that the client benefitted from the guiding hand of an experienced military lawyer along the difficult path, in a situation where the free military lawyer was not available.

Another in the "it could happen to you," trailer

Complaining witness tells CID that she was assaulted outside a base club, dragged behind a dumpster, and raped. Initially unable to ID the person who did this, she eventually does ID the client as having raped her.

Fortunately, very fortunately, for the client there is some investigation and representation. Inconsistencies are noted, and her story starts to fall apart. Her motive to lie - she didn't want to tell her parents she'd gotten pregnant as a result of fraternizing, she being an E-4 and him an O-4. At this point we have succeeded in having a reprimand for fraternization filed locally. But what about her lying - nothing has been done for her fraternization and nothing for her false official statements.

Client alleged to have been involved in drug use and cheating as a result of the Air Force investigations. Client received Article 15, UCMJ, punishment, but no court-martial.

Recently the Air Force has had a cheating scandal among their missile silo crews. Our client has received a letter of reprimand, to be filed locally and not be made part of his permanent record. Interestingly, because of the issues with 92 or more officers investigated, the testing has changed to pass fail. The service has "made the monthly [certification] test pass-fail[.]" [The] remarks come in the wake of a high-profile cheating scandal at a Montana base that revealed a de facto expectation that perfect test scores were needed for advancement up the ranks.