Case Result: Fort Polk – Fort Johnson, Louisiana

April 2023
Location: Fort Polk – Fort Johnson, Louisiana Rank: Army, E-6
Charges: Aggravated Assault, Maltreatment of a Subordinate Result: FULL ACQUITTAL

Our Army Staff Sergeant client at Fort Polk, Louisiana, a former Marine Sergeant and MCMAP black belt instructor, faced charges of aggravated assault and maltreatment of a subordinate. The “victim,” a Specialist notorious for disrespecting NCOs, tardiness, integrity violations, bullying, and fighting, confronted our client, who was the acting Platoon Sergeant, after arriving late to formation, smelling of alcohol, and displaying a disrespectful attitude.

Our client, focused on maintaining good order and discipline, implemented corrective training, aka “getting smoked.” During the training, the Specialist acted like a class clown, mocking the Staff Sergeant and then claiming he could fight and beat him up. Our client released the formation and took the Specialist over to a single-head latrine inside the CQ room for a “wall-to-wall counseling session.” With the Specialist’s team leader right outside the door, the Staff Sergeant started to ask the Specialist, “What’s up…” but before he could finish with “…with you,” the Specialist swung at the Staff Sergeant. Unaware of our client’s background as a former Marine martial arts instructor, he found out about it quickly. The Specialist threw the first punch, but not the last. Our client utilized his MMA training to defeat his attacker.

Of course, it was the NCO charged at a court martial for aggravated assault and maltreatment…
We defended our client during a three-day jury trial in Fort Polk, Louisiana.

The mixed Officer and Enlisted panel found our client NOT GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES AND SPECIFICATIONS, based on self-defense. This verdict demonstrates the importance of discipline and respect in the Army and serves as a reminder for junior enlisted Soldiers to think twice before provoking Noncommissioned Officers. We believe the “old Army” still exists and they are committed to maintaining good order and discipline.

Don’t start something you can’t finish.