A top Marine lawyer admitted to once doing nothing as troops beat a ‘young gay Marine,’ command investigation finds

Photo of Col. Christopher B. Shaw
Photo of Col. Christopher B. Shaw
Col. Christopher B. Shaw, shown as a lieutenant colonel in this picture, was a deputy director of the of the Judge Advocate Division. (Cpl. Emmanuel Ramos/U.S. Marine Corps).

Familiar with the command structure of the military, many active duty service members fear that their uniformed military defense attorney may prioritize career over client, and so decline to fight “hard” for them against the military leaders/establishment that controls the attorney’s career.

While most active duty defenders I’ve worked with have been courageous and zealous, the continuing saga of this Marine lawyer makes clear that these fears are not without basis.

The Marine Corps would do well to take all necessary steps to eliminate this form of “unlawful command influence” and ENSURE that defense counsel are insulated from unworthy leaders who would punish them for doing their job. As Congress invests heavily to provide for the thorough and aggressive prosecution of our service members accused of crime, so too should it focus on ensuring the rights of our innocent men and women accused of them are as strongly protected. And the most important step in doing that is to ensure the lawyers defending them need not be looking over their own shoulders.

If you or a loved one find yourself a defendant in the gears of Military Justice, chances are that your active duty lawyer will unhesitatingly put client before career–they are men and women of outstanding professionalism and doing so is part of the oath they took to become a lawyer.

But if you have any doubts, you’re not without options. Several of us have retired from active duty after practicing military justice for decades and we are beholden to no one. We’re here to help with command investigations and just a phone call away.

~When Experience Matters Most~

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