You are serving your country in the military. The United States military is the most powerful military in the world. The United States is the only remaining superpower globally. Since you are in the military you know the power and might of the military. You know the advantage of preparation beforehand. You know that the military collects intelligence, analyzes it, prepares a battle plan and executes it. Surprise is one of the biggest military advantages. When the military strikes it does so with massive overpowering strength and numbers, quickly and quietly, not offering the enemy the opportunity to respond effectively.
Now YOU are the enemy. The entire might of the United States military is arrayed against you. The Command must make the decision to prosecute you. Law enforcement in the military is relentless. MPI, Naval CIS, OSI, and CID, are effectively the intelligence arms in the Court-Martial process. You probably are unaware of all of the investigative work they have done when they finally interrogate you. They may call it an "interview". Your commander, Chief, 1SG, Platoon Sergeant, or Staff NCO, may ask you to tell "your side of the story", to "clear the air", "explain yourself", "do the right thing and own up to what you did", or that you "will" or "have to" "make" a statement to CID, MPI, Naval CIS, or OSI.
The investigative team and even your command, having been informed of your "wrongdoing", have almost certainly determined that you are guilty. You might have been the "go to" servicemember before, but now they consider you an untouchable and want you out yesterday! Law enforcement is looking for evidence to convict you. The interrogators will use the same skills they use on terrorists to interrogate you. They will get you when you are tired. They will isolate you. They will "process" you, taking your picture and fingerprints, removing your shoelaces, placing you in a spartan room. You will be nervous. They will blow through your rights advisement, or they may not even advise you of your rights! They will hold you for many hours.
Do NOT say anything to anyone! Do not "feel out", or "explain" your side with your staff NCO, Chief, 1SG or commander. These erstwhile comrades are not your friends any longer. They will report to law enforcement what you tell them. Whether they support you or not, they will provide your information and whatever they know to law enforcement. Invoke your Article 31 rights clearly, loudly and often. The only way the command can support you is to not ask you any questions.
YOUR ASSIGNED MILITARY DEFENSE ATTORNEY-
The military does not assign you your own personal military defense counsel until you have been charged. When law enforcement or the command are doing the XOI, the 15-6, or CID or CIS are interrogating you, you do not have an assigned military defense attorney. You are alone. You can ALWAYS hire a civilian defense attorney, even before you are charged. Think the command will initiate an investigation? CID tell you to come down to make a statement? Hire a civilian defense attorney NOW. When you have a civilian defense attorney, you can say "I AM NOW represented by counsel, here is his card, he told me to invoke, and to not answer any questions without him present, and he's not here now". Remember, hire your civilian defense attorney now and invoke your article 31 rights.
Have you already been interrogated? And perhaps you already provided a statement? You have already received a charge sheet. You are facing a court-martial. Who has the military assigned to defend you?
Most likely it is a junior officer. No matter what rank, that officer is still part of the military. If he hasn't already he may very well work in the future for the commander that is going to court-martial you now. They see each other at military events. The junior officers likely do not have trial experience. Commonly, defense attorneys will try to get you to plead out immediately. Sometimes these officers have been attorneys for a few years or maybe even a few months. Prior to handling your criminal case, they may have been handling claims for lost household goods, or environmental law. This new O3 now has your court-martial, your future in his hands.
An experienced civilian criminal defense attorney, like Kevin O'Grady, has handled cases in and out of the military system and can bring more than fifteen years of experience to the battle.
Once the military has decided to act, it does so with the size and strength of the United States. Whether it is an XOI, an AR15-6, a RCM 303 investigation, Captain's Mast (ART 15), ADSEP, or a Court-Martial, if the Command has decided to act, they do it militarily. That is, they do it all the way. What can happen? What are they trying to do?
They are NOT trying to help you. A letter of reprimand, or a General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand does not help you. An ART 15, loss of rank and pay does not help you. An ADSEP kicking you out with an OTH (other than honorable) discharge does not help you. At a Court-martial you are looking at federal convictions, a punitive discharge, whether a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge (and for officers a dismissal), military prison, possibly being labeled a sex offender, along with registration as a sex offender for the rest of your life. With a General Court-martial a federal felony conviction means you will never be able to touch a weapon again since you will be a felon. Of course there are the other collateral losses; loss of military pay and benefits. Do not discount this category. Although military prison and a felony conviction are obvious and easy to recognize when facing a general court-martial, also remember that you will lose your monthly pay, your health insurance, your medical benefits, coverage for your wife and children, survivor benefit plans, access to the commissary and of course your good name.
What would you spend to protect yourself? You are busy defending America and have probably never sat in on a court-martial and heard the part when the loss of pay is calculated. Assume just for a moment just basic pay. An E4 with two years time in 2011 earns $2,014.20 per month. This doesn't include BAS, BAH, COLA, Hazard pay, sea pay, combat zone pay, separation pay, access to health care, GI bill benefits, retirement pay, survivor benefit program, TSP, medical coverage,(TRICARE) access to the commissary and the like. It doesn't include any promotions, increases in pay based on time in service nor raises in pay from Congress. Just static basic pay. Remember what your pay would look like outside the military, in today's economy, what private medical insurance for you and your family would cost, what it costs to raise a family without the Child development center for daycare and groceries from the commissary, life insurance valued at $450,000. Assume you have two more years in your enlistment and you were not planning on making the military a career. Just those two years at that pay rate is $48,340.80. Even if you were just facing an Article 15 and a good attorney could possibly limit your reduction in rank to no loss of rank or loss of just one rank as opposed to more, you would be much better off. Now imagine you are looking at promotion, you are a higher rank, you have served longer, you are looking at retirement. Avoiding a punitive discharge can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars of future income. Also remember that even if you don't go to prison, if you have a dishonorable discharge you will find it nearly impossible to find a good paying job. Invest wisely and consider the cost benefit analysis of hiring a civilian defense attorney and weigh it against losing everything.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?
Compare what you pay for and what you get. Your assigned military counsel is probably a newly minted lawyer and a newly minted officer. He's probably young and inexperienced. Being a defense counsel could be his first experience that involves the possibility of a courtroom and a judge. He can be a defense counsel for six months or a year and have never gone to a contested trial, but merely have been second chair in one or two guilty pleas. Next year he may be doing labor law or he may be a trial counsel that advises the commander on Article 15's and administrative separations. Or he may leave the service and go work for a personal injury law firm in the civilian sector. The stereotypical mindset here is to work with the other side to avoid court congestion, inconvenience to the General, the military, the command, the court-martial members and to seek a plea deal. Experience is stereotypically limited.
With an experienced criminal defense and court-martial attorney like Kevin O'Grady you get all the experience outlined in his website: Over fifteen years of experience, military and civilian experience, law enforcement, prosecution and criminal defense experience. A reputation for being aggressive, thorough and taking the government to task no matter how long it takes, no matter what it takes. The assumption here is that we go to trial and win. That is what we prepare for from the beginning. The alternative plans are dismissal through legal, technical and factual challenges and of course working whatever plea bargain the government offers to the best advantage and for the consideration of you and your attorney. Experience is long and broad.
ACT NOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Kevin O'Grady has had results including all charges dismissed, retention instead of a punitive discharge allowing servicemembers to retire, zero prison time, reduced prison time, retention at administrative separation boards and investigations that then result in no charges being filed. If you think or know there is a criminal investigation occurring, contact Kevin O'Grady now.
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