2021: Year In Review, Part 1

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Reflecting on 2021, there was plenty to be happy about, unfortunately the world was still in the grips of the pandemic and I was still playing legal whack-a-mole. All in all, we are where we needed to be to do the most good for military justice.

Welcome to Part 1 of Year In Review 2021.

First a recap of 2020…

As these were the first 2 posts shared in 2021…

2020 Year In Review Part 1 – 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.

2020 Year In Review Part 2 – Continuing from Part 1 of 2020: Year In Review I am sharing the second half of the year (July through December) a summary if you will of thoughts, feelings and sometimes complete frustration dealing with a system that’s supposed to protect it’s own. Unfortunately, that system is the reason why my services are now in constant demand. We fight for every soldier and sailor wrongly accused.

Now the 2021 posts…

What is the Typical Punishment for Sexual Assault in the Military – Because of the absence of mandatory minimums in the military system for punishing sexual assault and rape do not exist, you can see a very vast and a very different level of punishment from one offender to the next.

“God Was Here Today” for Military Justice – One of the significant differences between representing military clients as a civilian UCMJ defense attorney and doing so as a uniformed counsel is that I get to choose my clients. When you wear the uniform, you take the assignments you are given with zero say on who your clients will be. One of the luxuries of private practice is determining where and how to expend your energies.

How to Read an AR 15-6 Investigation as a Client / Respondent – One of the hardest aspects of preparing a case for the client is to review the command investigation assembled against him. Sometimes I forget. As I coached a recent client on how to read an investigation in a way that provides utility for me and some protection for him emotionally, it occurred to me that many might benefit from the framework I describe.

We Want to Be Where We Can Do the Most Good – For Military Justice – Since 2008 when I was a part of the busiest Army Trial Defense Counsel offices in the world at Fort Hood, Texas, I began to understand the problems of the military justice system. The system’s goal was not to prevent people from coming into the pipeline. At best, it was and remains a legal triage. Under investigation? Great, they’ll give you about 20 minutes of time. The message? Keep your mouth shut, don’t speak to law enforcement, don’t share information with your friends, abide by military protective orders, and come back WHEN something happens. That bears repeating. Come back WHEN something happens.

Tough Love for Military Justice – I cannot care more about a military client’s case than they do. Well, technically, I can, and I have. But I won’t. Anymore.

Breaking Bad (News):  How To Tell The People In Your Life That You Are Facing Legal Trouble – Bad news.  Nobody likes hearing it, and getting some about yourself is never good.   But delivering bad news—especially to someone you care about—might be even worse.

Maintaining a Balance for Military Justice – Two attorneys separately approached me to ask whether I had any wisdom about how to achieve work-life balance. My reply was, partly in gest, “what balance?”

Doing It All for Military Justice – I hear it all the time – “I don’t know how you do it all.” Plainly, I don’t. That bears some explanation. And in large part I feel like I am undertaking an exercise actors do when they rehearse which word or words they want to emphasize when they deliver a line. So, we’ll try it this way first.

My Time for Military Justice – After almost nine years in private practice, my firm moved to paid consultations for some categories of new clients. I have been tempted to do so for many years. My impulse earlier this year was for all consultations to be paid, but I backed off from it.

Details Matter For Military Justice – I finished up a trial convinced the prosecutors don’t bother to listen to the alleged victim’s videotaped interview. Ever. They rely instead on the summary in military law enforcement reports. Typically, the first time they address with the alleged victim the nature of her complaint is the Sunday before a trial that starts on Monday or Tuesday. And they wonder why they lose, again and again.

Click here to enjoy Part 2 of 2021 Year In Review.

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