Military Service

United States Marine Corps

  • Served as a criminal defense litigator at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina – the second most active legal section in the entire Department of Defense;
  • Routinely carried extremely heavy caseload of 30-35 active cases in special courts-martial (misdemeanor level court) and general courts-martial (felony level court);
  • Represented Marines and Sailors charged with criminal offenses, including attempted murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, computer/cyber-crimes, drug possession and distribution, and military specific offenses (violation of orders, fraternization, maltreatment, hazing, desertion and unauthorized absence, and conduct unbecoming an officer);
  • Lead Counsel in 12 fully contested cases tried to a judge or jury to a final verdict. Military trials, like civilian trials, have fully contested guilt/innocence phases and fully contested sentencing phases.  Of the 12 fully contested cases, obtained four complete acquittals in which the Marine/Sailor was found not guilty.  Of the remaining eight fully contested cases, Marines/Sailors were found not guilty of some charges and/or received sentences far below the maximum allowable punishment.  Drafted and argued all motions including challenges to Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendment violations.
  • Military guilty pleas are distinct from civilian criminal pleas in that they involve a contested sentencing phase. Presented evidence and defended against prosecution evidence in these proceedings.  Handled approximately 100 guilty pleas with contested sentencing proceedings.

 

Administrative Disciplinary Hearings

  • Represented Sailors and Marines in over 50 fully contested administrative hearings alleging violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice that were not sent to a Court-Martial (criminal trial). The administrative hearing was tried to a panel of three senior Marines and/or Sailors. These hearings included the presentation of evidence, both testimonial and documentary, by government and defense counsel.  These hearings were, in effect, mini-trials.  Charges brought at these hearings included employment discrimination, sexual harassment, inappropriate relationships between senior and subordinate service-members, and dereliction of duty;
  • Represented officers and senior enlisted Marines/Sailors in cases in which military benefits and military retirement benefits were subject to revocation.

 

Bail Type Hearings

  • The military criminal justice system does not have bail to ensure an accused individual’s presence at trial. Instead, the military conducts a probable cause hearing to determine whether a Marine/Sailor is a flight risk and/or a threat to others.  Part of the hearing focuses on whether probable cause exists to show that the accused committed the offense. The second component involves the threat/flight risk determination.
  • Represented approximately 500 Marines/Sailors at such hearings.

 

Non-Judicial Punishment Advice

  • Provided advice to Marines/Sailors charged with offenses under the military’s non-judicial framework. Service-members are required to receive legal advice so that they can make an informed decision prior to appearing at a non-judicial hearing.  Service-members charged with criminal offenses have the right to receive advice about the offense(s) charged and the evidence supporting the charge(s).
  • Provided advice to over 1000 Marines/Sailors in this context.

 

Article 32 Investigating Officer

  • The military criminal justice system does not have a grand jury indictment process to charge felony offenses. Instead, the military uses an investigatory proceeding lead by a military lawyer called an investigating officer.  Normally, an investigating officer is a more senior officer (Major or Lieutenant Colonel).  I was tasked with this function as a Captain.  The role of the investigating officer is to determine whether probable cause exists that a crime was committed and that the accused committed the offense.  The investigating officer hears evidence, much like a judge, from the prosecution and defense.  The investigating officer hears and rules on all evidentiary objections.  After all evidence has been presented, the investigating officer prepares a report and submits it to the accused service-member’s commander (the commanding officer has criminal charging authority in the military).
  • Served as investigating officer in complex cases involving rape, robbery, and other high level offenses.

 

Legal Assistance Attorney

  • Provided legal advice to Marines and Sailors on a variety of civil matters including family law, wills, powers of attorney, contracts (credit card contracts, cell phone contracts, and automobile financing agreements with unreasonably high interest rates), military benefits, and financial advice and counseling.
  • My service as a legal assistance attorney overlapped with my service as a criminal defense attorney.

 

2002 Defense Counsel of the Year

Recipient of 2002 Eastern Region Defense Counsel of the Year Award – top rated criminal defense lawyer from a pool of 30 attorneys.