Will the Military Automatically Upgrade My Discharge?

Fact vs. Myth One of the most common urban legends that persists throughout the military is that a negative service characterization or discharge will be upgraded after six months. Throughout the last decade and a half that I have been practicing military law I have heard this idea repeated many times. “I thought my discharge … Continued

When Experts Matter

I recently litigated a hard-fought trial in Pennsylvania involving the death of a woman.  After almost two years of motions practice and battling with the prosecution we obtained a full acquittal.  In fact, even though the trial lasted four long days, the jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes before reaching a verdict.  What was … Continued

Should I Go Judge Alone?

One of the frequent questions that I hear in my practice relates to whether or not a military member facing court-martial should “go judge alone.”  That means that a military judge rather than a court-martial panel will decide guilt or innocence and then decide on an appropriate sentence.  While every case is different, it is … Continued

Rebutting and Appealing Negative Evaluations

Military members are well-aware of the important role that evaluations serve in regard to upward movement of their careers. Evaluation processes for each branch are utilized to identify the most valuable and talented military members and ensure that they are promoted in order to continue growing as a service member and leader. However, a negative … Continued

Naturalization Through Service

Impact of Recent Changes in American Immigration Policy Recently, Military.com ran an Associated Press story about the Army quietly discharging immigrant recruits. I found this story particularly troubling both because immigration is a hot-button political issue impacting families all over this country and the idea of a pathway to citizenship for those who demonstrate their … Continued

Temporary Disability and Severance Pay

As a Soldier, physical and mental fitness for duty is required to serve.  If a Soldier’s ability to serve has been compromised by an injury or illness, medical retirement does not automatically follow.  A medical retirement is the last option for an injury caused or aggravated by service.  An injury may initially result in a … Continued

Is a “Guilty” finding at NJP an actual “Conviction?”

Not a Criminal Proceeding. A guilty finding at a non-judicial punishment should never be considered a ‘conviction’ because it was never meant to be a criminal proceeding. The purpose of non-judicial punishment is to correct minor deficiencies with service members in an expeditious manner and not to punish the military member in any lasting way. … Continued

Strategic Court-Martial Defense

“Strategic” Court-Martial Defense “Strategic” refers to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them. Recently, during one of our Friday afternoon meetings, the attorneys at our firm spent time discussing the goals and reasonable potential outcomes for several of our ongoing cases. The conversations reminded me of the … Continued

The Language of Command

Non-Judicial Punishment Article 15 I recently represented a military member at their in-person appearance for Non-Judicial Punishment pursuant to Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. While not a complete victory, the outcome was highly favorable for the client and resulted in suspended punishment. This allowed the service member to keep their rank … Continued