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Thursday, November 22, 2018

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!  To all the American military families out there, particularly those separated from each other due to military service, a very special thank you.  In the words of USMC Father Dennis Edward O'Brien: 

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THE SOLDIER

It is the soldier,
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the soldier,
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is the soldier,
not the campus organizer,
who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.

It is the soldier,
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is the soldier,
who salutes the flag,
who serves under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protesters to burn the flag.


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Pilgrim Edward Winslow describes the first Thanksgiving in 1621:

Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER: COMPANY GRADE MILITARY OFFICER REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY RICHARD V. STEVENS WINS DISCHARGE BOARD AND IS RETAINED IN THE MILITARY


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a company grade military officer defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) was retained in the military after winning a litigated board of inquiry (BOI) hearing - involuntary administrative discharge board. 

In the military, involuntary administrative discharge board hearings are referred to as Boards of Inquiry (BOI), show cause boards, officer elimination actions, adsep boards, administrative separation actions, or administrative discharge boards.  Regardless of the label, this is an attempt by the military to kick the member out of the military. 

If an officer faces an involuntary administrative separation/discharge, and is discharged, they not only lose their military career, they often receive a negative discharge characterization - either a General Discharge or an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge.  In addition, they lose their future retirement and military benefits. 

Unlike a military court-martial trial, in which the government is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof on the government in a BOI hearing is much lower; it is simply a preponderance of the evidence.

Similar to a military court-martial, however, a BOI hearing involves a litigated case, including opening statements, calling and confronting witnesses, presenting evidence, making closing arguments, and the Board Members deliberating and announcing their decision.

This particular case led to a litigated involuntary administrative separation/discharge board hearing in which the government alleged various acts of misconduct against the client over the course of his career as a military officer.  After litigation of the case in the hearing, the three O-6 Board Panel Members returned a decision that the officer client should be retained in the military.  Because of the nature of administrative board hearings, which are closed, no further specifics about this case can be discussed. 

While this military 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 involuntary separation/discharge actions, please 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.

Blog postscript: I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) am a former active duty military lawyer (JAG). My perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon my experience as military defense lawyer and as a civilian criminal defense lawyer 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 for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in the Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland, National Capital Region (NCR), but the military defense representation is worldwide – when necessary, the attorneys travel to wherever the client is stationed around the world.


CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER: MILITARY NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY MIKE COCO WINS BCNR APPEAL AND CLIENT IS RETURNED TO ACTIVE DUTY


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) client represented by attorney Mike Coco (Of Counsel to the Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) was notified by the Board for Correction of Naval Records [BCNR] that the non-judicial punishment he received was to be removed from his records, which will return him to active duty in the Navy.

Our client received an Article 15 for alleged aircraft maintenance deficiencies, but he disputed the allegations.  However, because the client was out to sea, he was not able to turn down the Article 15 and demand trial by court-martial - thereby forcing the government to prove their claims against him in a judicial proceeding.  In the administrative Article 15 proceeding (Captain's Mast), his commander found him guilty of the offense, and reduced the enlisted NCO's rank.  Because of the rank reduction and his number of years of service, this meant the client had reached high-year-tenure (HYT), he would be discharged, and his distinguished Navy career would be over. 

After leaving active duty, the client retained our firm to appeal his discharge, and the client was represented by attorney Mike Coco.  Drawing on his previous experience as a military aircraft mechanic, Mike Coco was able to expose through the Maintenance Action Forms, diagrams of the aircraft parts at issue, the Technical Publications, and many witness interviews that our client had performed his required maintenance by the book and without defect. 

The BCNR ruled in favor of the client and the appellate relief was granted.  The Article 15 was removed from the client's Navy records which reversed the reduction in rank and HYT discharge.  The client will now be returned to active duty in his former pay grade, and he will receive back pay from the time he was originally reduced in grade. 

While the defense was successful in this case, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in some previous case(s) does not guarantee success in any particular future case.  No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law as we do, can guarantee the outcome of any military case. 

For more information about the military justice system, particularly cases involving Article 15 punishments, administrative discharges, or Boards for Correction of Military/Naval records, 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.

Blog postscript: I (attorney Richard V. Stevens) am a former active duty military lawyer (JAG). My perspectives and advice, therefore, are based upon my experience as military defense lawyer and as a civilian criminal defense lawyer 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 for a free consultation. These military defense law offices are located in the Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Maryland, National Capital Region (NCR), but the military defense representation is worldwide – when necessary, the attorneys travel to wherever the client is stationed around the world.