In this case that sent shockwaves through the military justice system, a senior Marine lawyer was found to have unlawfully threatened the professional advancement of defense attorneys representing a Marine. The incident serves as a stark reminder that a servicemember’s choice of attorney to assist them through the military justice system may be one of the most important career decisions they make.
In this particular case, the senior Marine lawyer told junior defense lawyers what they already knew—their careers might suffer if they fought too hard for their military client. The implicit warning that future promotion boards “would remember” their commitment to the client instead of prioritizing their loyalty to the Marine Corps sent shockwaves through the legal community. It revealed a glaring flaw in the military justice system by exposing the expectation that the Marine Corps expects active-duty military lawyers to prioritize the needs of the Marine Corps over the needs of their clients.
Fortunately, one of the defense attorneys who heard these comments acted courageously and complained about this disclosure. The Senior Marine Lawyer that made the disclosure was removed from his position but the impact of his disclosure is telling and serves as a sobering reminder of the importance of choosing a lawyer with undivided loyalty to the client.
When it comes to military criminal cases, defense attorneys play a crucial role in ensuring that the rights of the accused are protected and that justice is served. These attorneys are responsible for representing individuals who have been charged with various offenses within the military justice system. Their primary objective is to provide a strong defense and advocate for their clients throughout the legal process.
One of the key responsibilities of defense attorneys in military criminal cases is to thoroughly investigate the charges against their clients. This involves reviewing all available evidence, interviewing witnesses, and gathering any other relevant information that can support their client’s case. By conducting a comprehensive investigation, defense attorneys can identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and develop effective strategies to challenge the charges.
In addition to investigating the charges, defense attorneys also play a vital role in advising their clients on their legal rights and options. They ensure that their clients fully understand the potential consequences they may face if convicted and help them make informed decisions about how to proceed with their case. Defense attorneys also provide guidance on whether it would be beneficial to negotiate a plea deal or take the case to trial.
During trial proceedings, defense attorneys vigorously advocate for their clients’ interests. They present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and challenge any inconsistencies or weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. Defense attorneys use their knowledge of military law and courtroom procedures to ensure that their clients receive a fair trial and that all relevant facts are presented before the court.
Furthermore, defense attorneys also play an essential role in protecting their clients’ constitutional rights. They ensure that all evidence obtained by law enforcement was done so legally and within constitutional boundaries. If there are any violations of these rights, defense attorneys can file motions to suppress evidence or have charges dismissed altogether.
Finally, defense lawyers need to call to account the mistakes made by military law enforcement and commanders. Your lawyer must be willing and able to challenge, confront, and even expose senior military leaders if doing so is in the best interests of their client. In our experience, many active duty military lawyers are dedicated professionals, unafraid or unwilling to be intimidated by any outcome that loyalty to their client’s case may bring. However, as this article exposes, the intimidation is real.
At King Military Law, we are retired JAGs, retired Legalmen, and even retired law enforcement. And there is never a doubt where our loyalties lie. Collectively, we have over a CENTURY of military justice experience, all with one goal: to bring that experience to help FIGHT the system on behalf of our clients. We know the problems our clients face. We know how to fight back. And we know how to win. To read the experiences of real clients who have trusted KML with their legal issues, click here.
If you or a loved one find yourselves wronged by the military justice system, don’t be intimidated. Don’t lose hope. And ensure your legal team will hesitantly crush every obstacle in pursuit of YOUR best interests—even when that obstacle is the military.
King Military Law
~~ When Experience Matters Most ~~