DEFENDING THOSE WHO PROTECT OUR COUNTRY
Keith is a former Marine Corps prosecutor at Camp Lejuene, North Carolina and has proscecuted cases all over the world, including Al Anbar, Iraq. Upon transitioning out of active duty, Keith began his career defending military members accused of crimes. Keith has handled all aspects of military justice litigation from General Court-Maritals; boards of inquiry; administrative separation proceedings and cadet infractions and disenrollment. Further, Keith is one of the few attorneys in the State with the ability to practice in both Military and State of Connecticut Courts with in-depth knowledge on how to handle the interplay between military commands, State criminal and military courts.
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If you have been accused of crime in the military you may have charges preferred against you to a Courts-Martial. Essentially what this means is that you have been arrested and charged with a crime. The more serious crimes under the Uniform Code of Military Justice are preferred and referred to a General Court-Martial; most misdemeanor crimes are preferred and referred to a Special Court-Martial and less serious offenses usually are prosecuted at a Sumary Court-Martial
- Typically General Court-Martial cases start with an investigation by an organization like NCIS, CID or CGIS. Sometimes your command will initiate their own investigation;
- You may be asked to talk with an investigator from one of the organizations or your command – YOU have the right to remain silent and speak with an attorney prior to ever talking with an investigator or your command.
- If you are charged with a crime, you will have the opportunity to request an Article 32/preliminary hearing in which the government must show probable cause to continue with the charges against.
- If charges are brought against you will have your case set for prosecution and ultimately a trial.
- This process typically takes 9 months to 2 years depending on the complexity of your case.
- Special Court-Martial crimes are usually considered misdemeanor or lower level offenses.
- An organization such as NCIS may be involved but more commonly it a command investigation that is initiated to investigate potential charges against you.
- Again, YOU have the right to remain silent and speak with an attorney prior to speaking with a government agent.
- If charges are formally brought against you this process typically takes 6 months to a year to complete.
- NJP/Article 15/Captains Mast is an administrative punishment for what would be considered minor military offense.
- Unlike a court-martial, you cannot go to jail and the outcome does not result in a criminal conviction.
- These administrative proceedings can have a severe impact on your career retention and advancement and should be taken seriously.
- You will be afforded the opportunity to consult a military or civilian attorney prior to making an election to accept or reject this administrative punishment (with some very limited exceptions) to ensure you understand your legal rights.
- If you are being investigated by an agency such as NCIS or your command you may be facing serious criminal consequences.
- You have the right to consult with an attorney prior to talking with any government agent or your command and you may decide to never to talk with anyone.
- If you are under investigation you should seriously consider discussing your options with a military attorney or a civilian attorney to ensure you make an informed decision before moving forward.
BOARD OF INQUIRY
- A BOI is an officer administrative hearing conducted with three officers; a government prosecutor; a military defense counsel; retained civilian defense counsel if you choose to retain at your cost such representation and the accused officer.
- BOIs are based on the civil standard of proof of preponderance of the evidence and typically the board is deciding if you committed misconduct; if you should be allowed to remain or be separated from the military and at what rank/pay grade.
- Like a court-martial witnesses are usually called and questioned by the government, defense and the board members.
- Unlike court-martials, you will not receive a criminal conviction or be ordered to jail as a result of the BOI.
ADMINISTRATIVE SEPARATION BOARDS
- Similar to a BOI, an ADSEP is an administrative proceeding for enlisted members of the military.
- The board will consist of 3 members with one member being enlisted at the accused’s election.
- The standard of proof is the civil standard of preponderance of the evidence which is lower than the criminal proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Just like criminal trial evidence will be presented; witnesses will be examined and the board will have to make findings at the end of the ADSEP.
- Unlike a criminal trial, you will not receive a criminal conviction or go to jail but you can be administratively separated from the service and your discharge can be as low as other than honorable.
- If you are a cadet and are facing cadet specific infractions you are likely aware of the impact those infractions may have on your ability to graduate and commission in your service.
- Each academy outlines the rules, rights and procedures for infractions and the consequences of violating the same for cadets.
- If you are being investigated for cadet infractions you should strongly consider consulting a military or civilian defense attorney to ensure you know your rights and options as cadet procedures are unique and specific to each academy with typically stringent time limits to respond.