Why Do you Need An Attorney With Overseas Experience?

Off The Record: Episode 11

Timothy: If you’re stationed overseas, what do you need to look for in hiring a Civilian Defense Council? Find out next in Off The Record.

Noel: Tim, there is a huge need for Court Martial Defense services in Asia, and in Europe, places like Germany and Korea. I know that you used to, you travel there all the time.

Timothy: Yeah, I do.

Noel: Tell me, where do you see this need coming from?

Why Your Attorney Needs To Know The Area

Timothy: It started when I was still stationed out in Korea. My last duty assignment was at Yongsan, Korea, and I was responsible for all of the defense Services for the army in Asia that included, Korea, OkinawaMainland Japan. I saw a need for Service Members to have highly skilled Court Martial Defense Attorneys who can come to them and represent them in Asia and even all around the world. Since then, the practice has just boomed. And I love to travel. I love being able to fly to Asia, fly to Germany, fly to a foreign country where Service Members are stationed so far away from home and be able to represent them and give them the absolute best representation I know how to give them.

What I found is that, in Korea in particular because I was stationed out there, I understand that area, you are so far from home. The culture is different, the military culture is different, and if you are charged or accused of a crime so far away from home while stationed in a foreign country, it’s incredibly scary, it’s incredibly intimidating, and you don’t often know where to turn to.

Noel: Well, they’re out there, they’re alone, they’re far away from home, their families are thousands of miles away, and they’re essentially in this unknown environment. And it’s not the unknown environment of being in the military overseas, but it is now in a situation where they’re charged with a criminal offence and they don’t know where to turn, and all they’ve got there is maybe a Military Defense Council who oftentimes tells them, “Hey, look, I can’t represent you until charges are proferred, and that is a scary proposition.

Now, oftentimes I get those phone calls, and you go out there before they’re ever charged, when it’s just an allegation. And now you’re putting them in a position where they’re a little bit more comfortable. Tell me what that’s like?

Timothy: I like the challenge. You don’t have the home court advantage when you’re overseas. You’re travelling to a foreign country when you’re trying a case, you’re bringing all of your gear with you, you’re bringing the case file, you’re bringing any investigative or paralegal support with you, you’re dropping into a location, and you’re almost like mercenary.

You’re coming in, trying the case, bringing everything and yourself, and you’re leaving, and the prosecution clearly has the home field advantage. And maybe I get some sick pleasure out of it. But I love just travelling over there and dominating, and winning, and cleaning house in their backyard.

Another reason I like going out to Asia so much, I go out there so much. I know a lot of the players out there. I know who the staff judge advocates are, I know who the trial council are, the military council, the commands. Because when you have just one case, it’s hard to get to know the people involved, but if you have two, three, four, five, a dozen, sometimes even two dozen cases in one location, you get to know that area really well, and it absolutely helps play to your advantage.

Noel: For example, the Marine Corp Base, and the Navy, they have a lot of their commands are still tied to Okinawa in Japan. And you’ll see them talk back and forth between all of those locations. And I have a lot of good friends that are still on active duty in Hawaii that communicate back and forth.

They oftentimes give us those little after-action reports if you will. And this is what happened. And you wouldn’t believe the type of results that you can get when you travel in there, and I’ve heard this about you all the time.

You go in there, you dominate, and you get this result that was completely unexpected, and you’re a force to be reckoned with over there. And it’s not just a matter of bringing the things with you, you bring a ton of stuff to the table when you go over there, because of your experience, and knowing the area.

It’s Not A Vacation

Timothy: Right. And you just have to have a lot of stamina too, and you have to have that physical and mental stamina. I remember doing cases where I’ve flown from Hawaii all the way to Seoul, done a case at Camp Humphries, then flown from there to Okinawa, tried a case at Camp Foster. Have gone from there to Yokosuka tried a case there then head home, and you’re doing three cases in five weeks, and you’re gone for four, five, six weeks at a time. You have to have that physical stamina, you have to have that mental stamina and the desire to do it.

The biggest thing you have to understand is that, this is not a vacation. And a lot of civilian council or other attorneys will say, “Oh there’s a case in Seoul, there’s a case in Italy, there’s a case in Yokosuka outside of Tokyo, this will be a lot of fun.

Maybe I’ll fly out there, I’ll bring my family, we’ll go to the beach in Okinawa.” This is not a vacation, it’s your life. And so, if there’s any attorneys that you’re talking to that seem excited to want to come out to your location and bring their family or make a vacation out of it, that’s a big red flag, because your life is not someone else’s vacation.

This is the most important thing you’re going to have to do, and you’re going to need someone that’s going to be able to land in country, doesn’t need to be babysat, doesn’t need to know, 

Where’s Camp Humphries?

How do I get down there?

Do I take the train down there?

How do I get from Naha to Camp Foster?

How do I get down to Yokosuka? How do I get to Wiesbaden?

If you’ve got an attorney asking those questions, that’s a real clue to you that they’re going to need to be babysat, and this may be more of a vacation for them than the reality of they’re going into battle, and going in to try your case and then to win it, and it’s not a vacation, it’s your own life. And so you need someone with the know how, the experience, who knows their way around, and knows how to fly to a foreign country, land on the ground, do a very quick turnaround and win.

Noel: You have to have those resources. I mean, make no mistake about it. I recall, several years ago when I got the indoctrination into trying cases in two different countries, in different time zones, flying from place to place when there was a couple of service members, soldiers that we represented in Yongsun in Korea.

I tried one case, you tired a case, we tried a case together. You picked up another case while we were out there, I flew to Okinawa to take on another case, and we were able to divide our resources. And part of that was bringing in an investigator on board, you brought an investigator on board halfway through the case, and it was such an asset to be able to divide our resources among the clients that we had there, and then fly out to different locations and still be able to represent everybody to the upmost of our ability. And that is something that, understanding the area, knowing where to go, I learned firsthand by going there with you.

Get Attorneys With The Right Resources and Experience

Timothy: So the bottom line is, if you’re stationed OCONUS, and you’re facing court martial charges, you need a lawyer who knows what they’re doing, who’s tried cases in that location before, and has tried them for a long period of time. Someone who knows the area, someone who has resources to travel there, someone who can get on the ground, assess the situation and win your case.

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