Article 32 Transformation in the Military Sexual Assault Justice System

The system has changed. I first came into the military in 1985. As a single enlisted Soldier I had an overseas tour in Germany. The climate of the US Army was post-Vietnam era, filled with Vietnam Era problems. Drugs and Discipline were the main concerns.

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault has begun to have a significant impact on all four services. The interactions of men and women have created a fairly balanced military and has brought about positive changes in the mission of the military.

There has also been significant impact on the military justice system.  The changes to the Preliminary Hearing system has destroyed one of the protections for a military member. Formerly Preliminary Hearings, with a neutral military officer presiding, gave a raw picture of what the evidence would produce at trial. This type of opinion gave both the prosecution and defense a good idea of how valid the evidence would be at trial.

Now, Congress has replaced the system of real preliminary hearings with a “rubber stamp” straight to trial. The preliminary hearing officer is JAG officer that is really their to review the investigative matter. This is a documentary hearing where the prosecution rarely calls witnesses and the defense has no reason to call a witness. They don’t want their case to be seen at this point. Although the need for a preliminary hearing remains, they either need to serve a function or should be abolished as a pro forma and archaic view of justice.

Army QMP board (quality management program)

The U.S. Army’s quality management program is governed by Army Regulation Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separations (AR) 635-200, Chapter 19.  This program has been at a fever pitch for the last several years. With the Trump Administration, this program may slow down. In the US Army, generally, any adverse action that is found within an enlisted Soldiers record can subject them to being separated under QMP.

Most Soldiers use Legal Assistance on their local Fort/Post to defend the action. Generally, the tactics and techniques used by Legal Assistance are outdated. Their advise will be to create a rebuttal letter the claims responsibility for the actions and lifts up the accomplishments of the Solder. This is a failed tactic. You must decide to fight.

Recently,  I’ve had many Soldiers that have been targeted by this program. Our success rate has been extremely high. We approach the rebuttal process differently than most.  We challenge the idea that you are not an asset to the US Army and we challenge the underlying allegations (to include DASEB appeals and ABCMR), The attacking approach works best and has the highest success rate.

Jameson Hazelbower

Recent Sensational Post Story

I represented Jameson Hazelbower at a Courts-Martial at Fort Campbell Kentucky. The Washington Post recently wrote a story on this case. The headline “Suspected rapist goes AWOL; no Army search.” was extremely sensational and inflammatory. The case is old.  The conviction took place in May 2015 and Jameson was sent to Fort Leavenworth.

The implication that somehow the military did something wrong by using civilian law enforcement personnel is a bit ludicrous.  You need to ask yourself do you want young military MPs searching the country for deserters or AWOL Soldiers? I personally do not.

I think we should let military personnel do what they do best and let law enforcement do what they do best.

 

Air Force 120 (Sexual Assault)

Like the US Army, the US Air Force has begun to pick up the pace on the prosecution of UCMJ Article 120 cases. I have recently been retained on multiple Air Force cases involving Domestic and Sexual Assault.

The Air Force has been pushing for higher sentences on these types of cases. We are seeing less Chapter 4s (Discharge in Lieu of Courts-Martial).  This means more and more trials.

Recent Victory- Retention of MSG

At a recent Fort Campbell, Kentucky Courts-Martial, the goal was no kick and no incarceration of a 22 year Army E-8.  The Government brought 25 specifications against my client.  They could only prove up 4 minor offense.  My client remains in the military with and received a rank reduction and no jail time.  To say the least the Government was unhappy.

 

The next step is to get the rank back.