2020: Year In Review Part 1

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To say 2020 has been a bit different would be an understatement. I, along with my team, have fought long hard battles to protect every soldier and sailor who has needed us. It’s not easy. It takes a toll. And certainly the pandemic didn’t help. Over the last 12 months I have witnessed the worst in people and also the best in people. We have taken on cases to help right the wrong, to protect the innocent and to preserve the oath I once took as a soldier. So I present to you Part 1 of the Year In Review.


LEGAL WAC-A-MOLE FOR MILITARY JUSTICE – A request for military justice consultation came in for a servicemember that I was tempted to pass on. He said he was a victim of a brutal assault and that his perpetrator was facing court-martial. Why would he possibly need me? Over the years I have received dozens of requests to act as special victim counsel / victim legal counsel. Largely I pass. Each branch of service has given alleged victims far more rights than my client has on balance and appoints uniformed counsel to them. With my firm’s mantra of “we want to be where we can do the most good,” taking up the cause of an alleged victim in military justice hardly seems purposeful. But this man, this servicemember was insistent. And soon I would learn why.

POST INCIDENT BEHAVIOR & MILITARY RULE OF EVIDENCE 412 – In the world of military sexual assault defense, defense counsel need a keen understanding of Military Rule of Evidence 412. It is vital. Known often as the “Rape Shield” law, generally the rule is used to prevent evidence of an alleged victim’s prior sexual history or predisposition from coming into evidence. The protection is meant to preclude a defense along the lines that if an alleged victim is not chaste or pure, then the alleged victim is incapable of being assaulted.

WHERE I AM, WHERE I’LL STAY FOR MILITARY JUSTICE – No matter the time of year, we all hope and strive for justice. The holidays, for many, are a joyous time: a time to be with loved ones, to cherish blessings, and to look forward to the coming year. This time of year represents anticipation, but for many also a time of dread. For those service members under investigation or pending legal action, the holiday season brings little comfort.


ACQUITTAL HANGOVER – IN MILITARY JUSTICE – Man, oh man. The highs are high and the lows are so low in military justice. There is no feeling like it. “Accused and defense counsel, please rise.” The findings (what we call the verdict in military courts) are in, the judge knows, and we are about to know their collective answer. For military (in)justice.

TAP INTO JOY – FOR MILITARY JUSTICE – Joy.  It seems a simple enough concept. Tapping into joy does not seem overly complicated. Over the last 16 years of practicing in military justice and from personal conflicts, it would seem my ability to tap into joy has become challenged.


HOW DOES THE MILITARY DEFINE SEXUAL HARASSMENT – Military prosecutors have a number of different ways to try to prosecute someone for sexual harassment. The first way would be contained in Article 93 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, what’s known as cruelty or maltreatment. Military prosecutors also have at their disposal, in each of the service branches, various regulatory guidance that punishes sexual harassment.


TOO DRUNK TO CONSENT IN THE MILITARY – Despite much of the training that is going on right now in the military, known as sharp training, sexual harassment and assault response prevention training, despite those educators putting forward that all sex with a person who has consumed alcohol is a crime, that is not in fact the case. Under the UCMJ, it is not a crime to have sex with a person who is in fact drunk.


CHOOSING YOUR CIVILIAN COURT-MARTIAL DEFENSE LAWYER – Even though military law is a fairly small specialty focus, the number of civilian attorneys that are hanging their shingle and practicing before military courts martial is on the rise. With internet advertising and many attorneys who offer global availability, you can find yourself overwhelmed by your options. To help you sift through potential candidates, I provide you the following list of suggested questions.

VULNERABILITY FOR MILITARY JUSTICE – Traumatic brain injury from a savage attack. He will never be the same. In mid-September 2019, my client was on a temporary duty and visited a nearby local watering hole with colleagues from work. They knew they had too much to drink so they decided to go for a walk; the plan was to stretch their legs before eventually calling for an Uber. They never got the chance


WHO HAS THE AUTHORITY TO CONVENE A COURT-MARTIAL – The convening authority for a general court-martial is known as the General Court-martial Convening Authority, and in most cases is going to be the most senior level officer for the base. Some bases are large enough that they do have more than one general court-martial convening authority, but you’re going to be talking about an Admiral, a flag officer, or a general officer with multiple stars.

HUNG OUT TO DRY –MILITARY PERSONNEL AND DUI PROSECUTIONS – Regardless of the branch of service, often military personnel find themselves accused of criminal misconduct after ingesting some (or copious amounts of) alcohol.  Military installations have little crime and lots of visibility, which means almost every allegation gets fully investigated and prosecuted.  Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coastguardsmen and Marines need the assistance of a competent defense attorney.

July Through December will be covered in Part 2 of 2020: Year In Review

Thank you for allowing me to share Part 1 of 2020: Year In Review with you. If you have questions or comments about this post or any post on this website please leave a reply. And if you need our help, please call The Law Office Of Jocelyn C Stewart at 1(888)463-8727.

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Hire an attorney with a proven record and a commitment to exceptional representation of service members worldwide. As a former JAG for the U.S. Army, Jocelyn C. Stewart prosecuted and defended Soldiers on active duty from 2004 to 2012. Since 2012, UCMJ attorney Stewart has been providing superior representation exclusively to service members in need across all military branches worldwide. Ms. Stewart is determined to provide the best legal counsel possible using unimpeachable tactics to protect each client’s career, reputation and freedom.

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