I am a former JAG. I have my own law firm, with several attorneys that work for us and we are dedicated to helping soldiers. www.jamesphillipslaw.com.
Many people believe that soldiers don’t have any rights. There is a common misconception that once you join the military you have no rights to stop the chain of command from searching your private belongings, answering unauthorized questions, or stopping you from having contact with friends or family.
Joining the military does not eradicate your Constitutional Rights. You still have a fundamental right to freedom of association. You still have the right to remain silent if you are being questioned in relation to a crime. You still have the right to be free from illegal search and seizure.
In the military, a balance is struck between whether the Chain of Command has a valid and legitimate reason to curtail fundamental rights before they can infringe on a military members essential freedoms. Generally, if the military members rights are violated, the Chain of Command will claim that their actions were necessary due to good order and discipline.
Our firm is currently representing SSG Mitch Warner in a case where an Iraqi detainee was allegedly murder in Iraq. In this case, which is being tried at Fort Campbell, KY, we successfully suppressed many statements that were made to his chain of command because they never read him his Article 31 Rights. Article 31 rights are the military’s equivalent of Miranda (You have the right to remain silent, anything you say can and will….. etc.)