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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: 

---------------------------------------------------------| 

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.


---------------------------------------------------------|

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.


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER: LARCENY AND FRAUDULENT CLAIM ALLEGATIONS AND COURT-MARTIAL DROPPED FOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER (NCO) REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY RICHARD V. STEVENS (UCMJ ARTICLE 81, Article 121, Article 132, Article 107)


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a military non-commissioned officer (NCO) defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) had the fraudulent military claim allegations he was facing, and court-martial, dropped by the government. 

The NCO client was accused of larceny (UCMJ Article 121), filing false and fraudulent military claims (UCMJ Article 132), false official statements (UCMJ Article 107), and conspiracy (UCMJ Article 81).  Generally, he was accused of filing false travel vouchers.  The case involved considerable financial discovery, and was referred to trial by court-martial and set for trial.  The government sought to have the client enter into a pretrial agreement, but the defense refused. 

As the case proceeded toward trial, the defense pointed out to the government the evidentiary and case theory problems they faced based on the evidence and the proposed witnesses for the case.  Ultimately, as the trial date approached, the government withdrew and dismissed the charges, and the court-martial trial was dropped.

Had there been a court-martial trial and conviction in the case, the client could have been sentenced to a punitive discharge, time in prison, and loss of rank and benefits.  Thankfully, the flawed reasoning of the government was exposed, and the client was spared such a harsh outcome.  He can now move on from this case. 

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 larceny, fraud, and false military claims, 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.


Monday, October 22, 2018

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER: SEXUAL ASSAULT AND PHYSICAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS AND COURT-MARTIAL DROPPED FOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER (NCO) REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY RICHARD V. STEVENS (UCMJ ARTICLE 120 AND ARTICLE 128)


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) had the sexual assault and physical assault allegations he was facing, and court-martial, dropped by the government.  (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 128).

The NCO client was accused of these offenses by a civilian he was dating, after a breakup that left her very angry and expressing a desire to have him hurt and have his possessions damaged and destroyed.

The government's case began to crumble at the Article 32 hearing, and although one of the allegations was dropped at that point, the case was, nevertheless, referred to trial by general court-martial.  In the period leading up to trial, electronic evidence, to include many text messages during the relationship and after the relationship, exposed that the sexual and physical allegations made absolutely no sense and were not to be believed.  Her own words exposed her dishonest allegations.  This electronic evidence was then used as the basis for several defense motions.  At the motion hearing, in which the complainant took the stand, this electronic evidence was exposed and discussed.

As the case proceeded to trial after the motion hearing, the complainant dropped out, and elected not to participate further in the case - which saved her from being confronted with this evidence on the witness stand in open court during trial.  The government, therefore, withdrew and dismissed the charges, and the court-martial trial was dropped. 

Had there been a court-martial trial and sex crime conviction in the case, the client could have been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, decades in prison and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender.  Thankfully, the truth prevailed and he was spared this devastation to his future.  He can now move on from this case without the stigma of a sexual assault conviction which would have affected his life for the remainder of his days.

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 and 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.


Saturday, October 20, 2018

CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER: SENIOR NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER (NCO) REPRESENTED BY ATTORNEY RICHARD V. STEVENS IS FOUND NOT GUILTY OF ALL ALLEGED SEXUAL AND PHYSICAL ASSAULT ALLEGATIONS IN GENERAL COURT-MARTIAL TRIAL (UCMJ ARTICLE 120 AND ARTICLE 128)


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) was found not guilty of all charges he faced in a litigated general court-martial trial, including sexual assault and physical assault allegations (UCMJ Article 120 and Article 128).

The senior NCO client was accused of these offenses by a civilian acquaintance after a night of drinking, in which the complainant, who was married, was out without her husband and was witnessed by bar patrons behaving in a manner that would have been very damaging to her marriage - except she then claimed to have been victimized in an attempt to shield herself from the consequences of her behavior that night.

The client pled not guilty to all charges in the general court-martial trial, and the case was heard by a panel (jury) of officer and enlisted members (jurors).  The truth of what actually occurred that evening was exposed through videos from the evening, witness testimony by bar patrons, and also through testimony from a civilian witness who was not affiliated with either party who completely refuted the claims made by the complainant.  One by one, this objective witness said unequivocally that the details described by the complainant were not true. 

The court members (jury) did not deliberate long before announcing the client had been found not guilty of all charges and specifications (complete acquittal).  Had there been a sex crime conviction in the case, the client could have been sentenced to a dishonorable discharge, decades in prison and, in addition, he would have been required to register as a sex offender.  Thankfully, the truth prevailed and he was spared this devastation to his future.  He can now move on from this case without the stigma of a sexual assault conviction which would have affected his life for the remainder of his days.

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 and 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.


Monday, October 01, 2018

Air Force Colonel John Howard - False Sexual Assault Allegation and Court-Martial Dropped




It has been widely reported today that my client, Air Force Colonel John Howard, reached a "plea deal" in his case.  That is not technically accurate.

While it is true that the court-martial and false sexual assault allegation against him were dropped, there was no "plea deal" that required him to plead guilty to something in exchange for something.  We arrived at a pretrial agreement in Col Howard's case in which he agreed to accept an administrative Article 15 and the government agreed to drop the court-martial.  The Article 15 did not allege sexual assault...because there was no sexual assault, period.

Here is one such media article:


Below is the entirety of the defense press release, which details the circumstances of the resolution of the case and the defense exposing how Col Howard had been falsely accused of sexual assault:

PRESS RELEASE - REGARDING AIR FORCE COLONEL JOHN HOWARD

Based on what was left out of the Air Force press release, the defense feels compelled to clarify the circumstances of the resolution of this case.  There was no sexual assault in this case, period.  The Convening Authority did the right thing by not only dropping the court-martial charges, but by dropping the sexual assault allegation from the subsequent Article 15.  As indicated in the Air Force press release, Col Howard was not even accused of sexual assault in the Article 15 he accepted - because that allegation was false.  As stated in the Air Force press release, the Article 15 alleged Conduct Unbecoming and Fraternization. 

While the complainant, through her attorney, indicated that she did not wish to proceed to trial in Col Howard's case, the circumstances of that decision were left out of the Air Force press release.  Prior to the scheduled Article 32 hearing, the defense had uncovered evidence and witnesses that clearly refuted the complainant's sexual assault claim.  This included communications directly from the complainant to Col Howard after the date of the alleged incident that left no reasonable doubt that the sexual assault allegation was false. 

The defense was prepared to present this evidence and the witnesses at the Article 32 hearing, and we served notice of this on the complainant's attorney and the government.  After that, the complainant's counsel submitted the letter indicating that the complainant did not wish to participate further in the case, and the Article 32 hearing was canceled and the court-martial case was dropped.

The sexual assault allegation in this case was highly publicized, so we hope the fact that there was no sexual assault will be of equal interest to the press.  Regardless, now Col Howard and his family can begin to heal from the very public airing of this false sexual assault allegation.

Finally, it is important to understand that while Col Howard accepted an Article 15 in this case, he did not agree with the facts alleged on the Article 15.  Some press outlets have published the facts alleged on the Article 15, but when the Air Force provided these alleged facts to the press, they failed to mention that we submitted a comprehensive defense against the Article 15 - citing witnesses and evidence - to argue that the facts alleged against Col Howard were solely based on the word of the complainant...and we had already established that her word was not to believed.  That's what resulted in the false sexual assault allegation being dropped in the first place.  As such, her word should not have formed the basis for the Article 15 allegations either.  

In addition, in our Article 15 defense we challenged the objectivity of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), and cited specific examples of what we considered to be serious problems with their skewed investigation and biased interviewing of the complainant.  In our argument, we pointed to clear instances of the agents acting more like advocates of the complainant than law enforcement agents who should have been objectively investigating allegations.  That, of course, is what happens when your investigation begins with the flawed premise of "Believe the Complainant."  While that may be entirely appropriate in a therapy context, it is never appropriate in a law enforcement or court process.  In this case, the complainant was not to be believed after all.  


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.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Civilian Court-Martial Defense Lawyer: Retirement Eligible Military Officer Represented by Attorney Richard V. Stevens is Retained in Military after False Sexual Assault Allegations


Military Defense Lawyer (Former JAG Attorney) News:

Recently, a retirement eligible, military officer defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens (Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C.) who had previously been cleared of a false sexual assault allegation, was retained in the face of an involuntary administrative discharge action (UCMJ Article 120). 

Originally, the officer client faced a general court-martial in which a lower ranking military member accused him of sexual assault.  In the lead up to the court-martial, we exposed the allegation to be false based on the digital evidence in the case.  The court-martial was dropped, even though the complaining witness continued to claim she was a "victim," despite the evidence to the contrary.  

The officer client did receive administrative punishment due to the circumstances surrounding what occurred, consensually, on the night at issue.  That administrative punishment triggered an involuntary administrative discharge board (show cause, BOI).  Thankfully, the board just recently retained the officer client, who has served the country honorably for decades.  The client is now in the process of honorably retiring from the military. 

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 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 and see http://militaryadvocate.com/military-offenses/rape-sexual-assault-sodomy/.

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: 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 Northern Florida/Georgia areas, but the military defense representation is worldwide – when necessary, the attorneys travel to wherever the client is stationed around the world.