Denver, CO Martial Law Blog

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Impact of a Government Shut Down on the Military

Q: Can a government shut-down result in a court-martial?

When civilians hear that a service member needs a skilled court-martial defense attorney, they may think the person is facing the most serious of charges.

They may speculate that the service member was Read more . . .

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Navy May Charge Ship Captains in Deaths of Their Own Sailors

Can a Naval commanding officer be held criminally-responsible for failed “operational decisions” that result in a sailor’s death

Court-martial defense attorneys may be gearing up to fight a battle the military justice system very rarely sees within the Navy--criminally negligent homicide charges against commanding officers. To put it in perspective, only two commanding officers have faced and been convicted at court-martial for “failed operational decisions” in the past 40 years-- and the last of those convictions was 30 years ago.

Generally, commanding officers are not criminally court-martialed, but rather face military administrative action for non-criminal misconduct charges.
Read more . . .

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Choosing a Military Defense Attorney in a High Profile Case

When do I need a military defense lawyer with public relations experience?

A skilled military court-martial defense attorney will be able to help not only an individual charged with an isolated incident, but also service members charged as part of an alleged widespread criminal operation in which multiple service members are charged.

In fact, when a high-profile case comes along, service members need a defense attorney experienced with both military law and public relations to prevent their right to a fair trial before an impartial decision-maker from being jeopardized by being portrayed negatively by the media.

Everything about the Navy's breaking “Fat Leonard” investigation suggests that the scandal could be big and sensationalized and that those service members snagged in its net could be unfairly pre-judged by the public.
Read more . . .

Sunday, December 31, 2017

In Focus: Sexual Misconduct in the Military

Throughout the second half of 2017, the #MeToo movement roiled Hollywood, major media outlets and Capitol Hill with accusations of sexual misconduct. Now, three nonprofit advocacy groups are planning a rally for military women outside the Pentagon next month. The rally is scheduled for 8 a.
Read more . . .

Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Impact a Court Martial Conviction May Have on Post Military Civilian Life

Q: What becomes of service members after a court-martial conviction and military discharge?

The impact of a court-martial conviction significantly affects a service member’s future (as well as their family’s future) in many ways, so hiring a skilled civilian military court-martial defense attorney from the outset is critical.

A court-martial is not the time to trust your future to a free court-appointed member of the military defense counsel, who is likely overworked and inexperienced. Not only might a skilled civilian military defense attorney get the charges dismissed, but alternatively might secure a more lenient punishment.
Read more . . .

Monday, November 27, 2017

Unlawful Command Influence Behind Overturned Court Martial Conviction

Q: What rights and remedies exist if a court-martial conviction is overturned five years later for unlawful command influence?

Appealing a court-martial conviction or having it overturned may be possible, even years later in some cases. Sometimes it takes that long for allegations and evidence of alleged unlawful command influence to come to light. 

Five years after its conviction of a Marine Corps scout sniper "involved in desecrating the bodies of enemy fighters in Afghanistan" by urinating on Taliban corpses, the Navy-Marine Corps’ Court of Criminal Appeals has overturned the conviction a former staff sergeant. 

The court ruled that actions taken by the then-Commandant of the Marine Corps "created the appearance of unlawful command influence in the conviction, creating a taint on proceedings that was never adequately addressed or alleviated". 

Reportedly, nine Marines were involved and subjected to various levels of punishment “from special court-martial to letters of reprimand" after a videotape of Marines urinating on Taliban corpses in 2001 was posted on YouTube.
Read more . . .

Saturday, November 18, 2017

“Dirty Rotten Traitor” Gets No Confinement

Q: Did “undue command influence” factor in to the Bergdahl case?

In the world of court-martial defense work, the case against Army Sgt. Beau Bergdahl – – is likely the most famous in recent history. 

The desertion and AWOL case caught the nation’s collective eye during the 2016 presidential campaign, if not earlier.
Read more . . .

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Marines Air Dirty Laundry

Q: Can a court-martial be downgraded?

When a military service member is accused of a crime, they may be subjected to one of three different classifications of court-martial proceedings, each of which differs based on the seriousness of the offense, the procedures used, and the possible punishments delivered.

If you are facing a court-martial, no matter what the level, it's important to have a skilled civilian military court-martial defense attorney by your side because your reputation, career, freedom, finances, pension, benefits, and possibly your life may be on the line.

In a nutshell, court-martial proceedings generally range from least serious to most serious as follows:

  • Summary court-martial for minor offenses committed by enlisted soldiers and presided over by a single officer. 
  • Special court-martial for more serious offenses by enlisted service members or officers and presided over by a panel of three members plus a military judge, or a military judge alone. 
  • General court-martial reserved for the enlisted or officers charged with the most serious crimes, which may be presided over by a military judge alone or a panel of five members plus a military judge.
    Read more . . .

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Two Adults, One Dead Child, Two Court Systems

Q: Can a civilian and a military service member be tried in separate courts in connection with the same death?

Military murder defense attorneys know that the outcome of a court martial on homicide and homicide-related charges can threaten the future career and freedom of a service member. The outcome of a court-martial can often be more serious and punitive than a similar proceeding in a civilian court.

Not only are the civil and military court systems very different, but the outcome of a military court-martial can be impacted by whether the accused chooses an experienced civilian court-martial defense attorney instead of accepting the free, court-appointed military defense counsel.
Read more . . .

Friday, September 29, 2017

Post-Retirement Court-Martial Proceedings

Q: Can a service member be court-martialed after retiring?

Even a long-retired general can have his senior brass dragged back into military court--though it's highly unusual.

Hiring a court-martial defense attorney may be at the top of a to-do list for a retired Army four-star general facing a court-martial after being charged with "six counts of rape of a minor" between 1983 in 1989, in violation of Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The alleged rapes reportedly occurred while he was on active duty serving in the United States and Germany.
Read more . . .

Friday, September 22, 2017

Colonel Gets Convicted in Sexual Misconduct Court Martial

Q: Is a high-ranking officer immune from prosecution and conviction?

A military sexual misconduct conviction can have devastating consequences to a service member’s career, reputation, and freedom.  

But child-related criminal offenses, including child pornography, child abuse, and sexual assault of a child, are among the most aggressively-prosecuted cases in all branches of the military. Not even the highest-ranking officers are able to avoid prosecution or conviction.
Read more . . .

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