These cases can include rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, sexual assault of a minor, indecent viewing, indecent recording, forcible pandering, indecent exposure, and other Article 120 and Article 120(c) offenses. An officer is supposed to be a gentleman, but officers are accused of not being gentlemen with regular frequency. The type of brain trust that is at Hampton Roads means there is a great power differential between the senior officers and other Navy personnel present. As such, all it takes is an accusation for a career to be ended. If you’ve worked hard for that command or you’ve reached the pinnacle of power as an enlisted Sailor, you need to fight like Williams fought in the Mekong Delta if you are innocent. Don’t accept guilt because you are offered some sort of plea.
We defend cases such as conspiracy to defraud the military, BAH fraud, OHA fraud, extortion, larceny, wrongful appropriation, and more. When gear comes up missing, it is routinely our observation that someone is looking for an officer to blame. Again, the accountability aspect of that is appropriate. However, passing the buck is not. A Lieutenant Commander saving his career by blaming a Lieutenant JG is not accountable.
As it pertains to both officers and enlisted personnel, we see a great deal of alleged BAH fraud. Sometimes it is a complete misunderstanding of one’s domestic arrangements and other times, it was junior enlisted personnel trying to make ends meet as best they knew how. Not everyone gets their own on base house like some Admirals. Sometimes, taking care of one’s family is all that is on a Sailor’s mind.
We represent service members facing charges including murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, assault, and cases involving self-defense and defense of another. Drunken bar fights are stuff of Navy legend and often, it is actually initiated by some civvie who resents the fact that they never had the courage to sign up.
The problem is that civvie gets off with little punishment and a sailor winds up losing their career or freedom when the scuffle turns into a full fledged brawl with beer bottles, chairs and more. You can only push a man so far and if you lose your cool in a fight, you still have a chance to fight for your career.
We defend cases involving drug possession, drug distribution, drug importation, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, positive urinalysis cases, tampering with urinalysis cases, and more. These cases often involve illegal controlled substances such as marijuana, LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, molly, opioids, analogues, and more.
We’ve seen this come up with junior enlisted personnel and officers alike. At times it is a human trying to break the known rules without any regard to the UCMJ. Other times, it is an officer trying to stay awake and keep up with the operational tempo on a ship. In either case, there is typically more to the story than meets the eye and that is reason enough to fight back.
These include charges such as fraternization, unauthorized absence (AWOL), disobeying a lawful order, conduct unbecoming an officer, and much more. There is much that can go wrong in military life under the UCMJ and we would have to imagine that there is more that can go wrong when a senior officer is around every corner.
Such is the case at Hampton Roads which is why many enlisted personnel or junior officers would rather be stationed in a remote corner of the world than having to salute an Admiral at every turn. Some of the charges we see coming out of Hampton Roads are legit and some of them are just plain silly and the result of a senior officer’s personal set of expectations.