Search This Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

HAPPY VETERANS DAY!

Please take some time today to reflect on, and thank, those brave veterans who have served and protected our country in the past, those who are currently serving our country, and the families who support and share in their sacrifices for us.  Have a wonderful and meaningful Veterans Day!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Disciplinary Actions against Military Member Involving Sexual Misconduct Allegations Dropped (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 134)





Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military enlisted member who received two administrative disciplinary actions surrounding claims of sexual misconduct (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 134) had those actions dropped by the commander based on the defense rebuttal submissions.  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.). 

The client received these two disciplinary actions within weeks of each other.  The defense responded to each.  It was the rebuttal to the second action that ultimately resulted in the actions being withdrawn and “torn up” by the commander, instead of being filed in the client’s personnel records.  Due to the nature of adverse administrative actions in the military, no further details about this case can be released. 

While this military justice case was successfully defended, and the client was cleared, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case.  No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:


We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Full Statement to ABC News Regarding Former Air Force Academy Cadet Jamil Cooks at Alcorn State



Given that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is commenting on this Air Force court-martial case, and it is about to be discussed on ABC World News Tonight and Nightline (http://abcnews.go.com/US/registered-sex-offender-emerges-star-college-football-player/story?id=26491067), here is the full text of the statement I made to ABC News about former Air Force Academy Cadet Jamil Cooks, who now plays football at Alcorn State:


To date, the reporting about Jamil's case has not only been inaccurate, it has been, in my opinion, irresponsible journalism.  Instead of relying on concrete sources of information, such as the transcript of Jamil's case (through a FOIA request), stories are being published based on the word of a former Cadet informant who was apparently dis-enrolled from the Air Force Academy under adverse circumstances.

Jamil's case has not yet been heard on appeal, so he is not in a position to make any statement about an on-going legal case.  In a nutshell, what we argued at trial regarding the three litigated sexual assault allegations in the Cooks case is that these allegations were all made by a former romantic/sexual female "friend" (for lack of a more accurate term) of Jamil's who was upset and angry that he didn't want a more serious, committed, and public relationship with her.  We based this trial argument not only on witness testimony, but on excerpts from the accuser's diary.  Jamil was acquitted of two of these three litigated allegations.  The one litigated allegation he was convicted of is being appealed.

The larger issue raised by Jamil's trial is that actions taken, and outcomes, in the current military justice environment are being increasingly driven by a misinformed narrative that the military justice system is "broken" so there needs to be a much higher percentage of convictions and harsh sentences or politicians will further encroach on the system with their misguided views.  It is getting more and more difficult to ensure fair trials in the military, since politicians, government officials, and military officials who have little to no experience in an actual military courtroom are continuously trying to make the military justice system more about pre-determined and politically palatable outcomes than about a search for the truth or actual justice.  This is not a story that many in the press are interested in, however.

In any event, during the period in which the Cooks case was being investigated, there were multiple Air Force Academy cadets who were in trouble and/or facing dis-enrollment from the Academy who were making claims, as informants, against other cadets in the hope that this information would result in the informants saving their careers and remaining at the Academy.  There is a reason that an informant's testimony is viewed with skepticism in courts.  Information is "currency" for informants to cash in and receive a benefit that is otherwise unavailable to them...often regardless of the truth of that information.

The first time I ever heard of Eric Thomas' alleged involvement in the court-martial trial case of United States v. Cadet Jamil Cooks was when it was pointed out to me in the Colorado Springs Gazette article on informants at the Academy - long after the Cooks trial was over.  I literally said "Who is Eric Thomas?"  Eric Thomas was not a witness in the trial of U.S. v. Cooks.  He appears nowhere in the report of investigation for the trial of U.S. v. Cooks.  He has never been mentioned in association with this trial by any Air Force prosecutor, investigator, or witness.  There was no evidence in the trial of U.S. v. Cooks associated with Eric Thomas.  So, when I keep reading that Eric Thomas was somehow responsible for the outcome of the trial in U.S. v. Cooks I am at a loss.  Not too long ago, this was repeated in a New York Times Article.  I don't know how this passes for responsible journalism.

I won't comment on my speculation about how Eric Thomas' alleged involvement in the U.S. v. Cooks trial has come to be accepted as a "fact," I will simply state that the name Eric Thomas was in no way associated with the actual trial of United States v. Cadet Jamil Cooks.

Friday, October 17, 2014

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYERS: Military Member Found Not Guilty of All Charges and Specification at Military Sexual Assault Court-Martial Trial (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 134)



Military Criminal Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military enlisted member who faced a court-martial trial in which he was accused of sexual assault of an acquaintance/co-worker and sexual harassment of the same individual was found not guilty of all charges and specifications at his military court-martial trial.  The accused military member was defended by military law attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.). 

The military member was accused of sexual assault (abusive sexual contact, UCMJ Article 120) on three occasions and sexual harassment (sexual remarks, UCMJ Article 134) over the course of months.  The case was based solely on the word of the complainant.  At court-martial trial, the complainant was cross-examined about the work environment that she participated in, inconsistencies between her story and what she told others, and comments and behavior of hers that made no sense in light of the allegations she was making (including Snapchat activity, Facebook activity, and Twitter posts).  Ultimately, based on questions raised about the complainant’s credibility and the believability of her story, the accused military member was found not guilty of all charges and specifications (full acquittal). 

Had there been a conviction in the case, the military member could have been sentenced to significant jail time, a punitive discharge, reduction in rank to the lowest enlisted rank, forfeitures of all pay and allowances and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender. 

While this military court-martial case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case.  No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases alleging rape and/or sexual assault in violation of UCMJ Article 120, type “rape” or “sexual assault” into the search bar above the blog posts.  Also, see:


We offer free consultations for a case you may be involved in.  Just call us.

Thank you.    

By: Attorney Richard V. Stevens
Civilian criminal defense lawyer and military defense lawyer
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.
http://www.militaryadvocate.com

Blog postscript: Attorney Frank J. Spinner and I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) are former active duty military lawyers (JAG). Our perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon our experience as military defense lawyers and as civilian criminal defense lawyers practicing exclusively in the area of military law and military justice. This blog addresses issues in military law, military justice, military discipline, military defense, court-martial practice, the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other military and/or legal topics. Nothing posted in this blog should be substituted for legal advice in any particular case. If you seek legal advice for a particular case, please contact The Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens and The Law Office of Frank J. Spinner for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in Northern Florida (Pensacola, Ft Walton, Destin, Eglin AFB, Hurlburt Field, Duke Field, Panama City, Tyndall AFB areas) and Colorado Springs, Colorado (FT Carson, Peterson AFB, Air Force Academy, Schriever AFB, Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, Buckley AFB areas), but our military defense law practices are worldwide – we travel to wherever our clients are stationed or serving and need us.