WEST POINT CADETS FIGHTING AGAINST THE ABUSE OF THE UCMJ HAVE ONE OPTION
I think it is safe to say that no cadet plans to start off their military career with a court martial. Whereas Cadets at West Point are subject to their own unique disciplinary code, they are also subject to the UCMJ the same as any other member of the United States Armed Services.
I think it is safe to say that no cadet plans to start off their military career with a court martial. Whereas Cadets at West Point are subject to their own unique disciplinary code, they are also subject to the UCMJ the same as any other member of the United States Armed Services. This misconduct can lead to a formal court martial or a series of misconduct hearings that afford you different aspects of due process. What is important to note is that you can have an experienced military defense attorney involved, regardless of what you may have heard. Cadet cases that do not rise to the level of a court martial are typically disposed of with an Honor Code Investigative Hearing under AR 210-26, para 6-16, a Cadet Disciplinary Case under AR 210-26, para 6-17, or a Misconduct Hearings under USMA 1-10. A misconduct can result in separation from West Point along with a recoupment of tuition, which could exceed $200,000. During a formal court martial or formal misconduct hearing, you can have an attorney represent you throughout the process, from initial investigation to trial or misconduct hearing. At all other proceedings, you must represent yourself, but you can have an experienced attorney advise and prepare you to do so. What you cannot do, must not do, is expect mercy from the military justice system. That’s because you will find out quickly in your military career that the military justice system does not exist for the purpose of pursuing justice. Rather, it exists to maintain military order and discipline. For that to work, they have to make a public example out of someone and if you let them, they will make that example out of you. You wanted to become an officer so that you could use that system to lead some of the finest men and women on Earth. Yet, if you are facing court martial or other misconduct hearings at West Point, that same system will bear down and crush you. You have to fight back as it is your only option. Thankfully, West Point has a gallant history of men and women who know how to fight.
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There Is More Than One Way To Lead From West Point
If you’re facing the abuse and misuse of the UCMJ against you, it may very well feel like your West Point and military career is over. Just know that it doesn’t have to be as there is more than one way to lead from West Point. This was the opinion of future Medal of Honor recipient and West Point Cadet Michael Daly.
Just as the United States was entering World War 2, Daly was appointed to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point. By his own admission, he was a mediocre student and frequently found himself the subject of several misconduct hearings of his own. Frustrated with what he thought to be inconsistent application of standards, he resigned from the Academy and volunteered for the fight in Europe. As he would put it, why study fighting when you can actually fight.
Once in Europe, his natural leadership was on full display in combat and received a battlefield commission. In April of 1945, he was leading Company A of the 15th Infantry Regiment through the German town of Nuremberg. As his company passed through, a German machine gun nest opened up on the men. Along and far ahead of his men, Daly rushed the position and single handedly killed all of the enemy. He then came across a six-man patrol preparing to ambush American tanks with rockets. He again charged alone and killed the entire patrol.
Before the day was done, Daly would be credited with single handedly killing 15 of the enemy and clearing 3 machine gun nests. Unfortunately, the next day Daly was shot in the head with the bullet entering near his ear and coming out through his cheek. He would be sent back to the United States for recovery where he would find out that he was now a recipient of the nation’s highest military honor. All in all, not too bad for a West Point conduct problem and drop out.
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What Types Of Charges Can Bilecki Help Me Defend Out Of West Point
Whether you are a cadet or a regular uniformed member of the armed services out of West Point, we can help you put together an aggressive defense and fighting chance to save your career. Below you’ll find just a few of the charges we fight on your behalf and you’ll quickly see that we don’t scare easily.
UCMJ Article 120 or Article 134 (Sex offenses) -
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. For those attending West Point, you’ll be coming into a military that is rightly and justly trying to root out sexual assault from the ranks. Unfortunately, it’s not going smoothly.
The current climate in the military is such that an allegation of sexual impropriety is being treated as objective fact and good men and women are having their careers ruined as a result. Victims of sexual misconduct deserve justice, but there is no justice in sending wrongly accused men and women to jail. If you are facing these allegations, you have to fight back because the presumed guilt is ruining one career after the other.
UCMJ Article 121 (Fraud and Larceny) -
We defend cases such as conspiracy to defraud the military, BAH fraud, OHA fraud, extortion, larceny, wrongful appropriation, and more. The West Point Honor Code states that a cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.
That’s all good and well, but the “tolerate those who do” often means a cadet’s unwillingness to screw their buddy over and rat them out leads to the end of their own military career. West Point cadets are honorable, but you know full well that they are not saints. When morally ambiguous circumstances present themselves, sometimes cadets make a mistake. Yet, much like Michael Daly, that may be the very cadet we want in the fight.
UCMJ Article 128 (Assault and Violent Crime) -
We represent service members facing charges including murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, assault, and cases involving self-defense and defense of another. The simple truth is that cadets are still college age kids and young men tend to fight from time to time. It shouldn’t be the end of your West Point experience.
Just like other college age men and women, alcohol often plays a major role. When a makeshift weapon such as a pool cue or beer bottle gets involved, the charges can escalate quickly. So if that drunken brawl with the Midshipmen from Annapolis got out of hand, you need to put together a staunch legal defense.
UCMJ Article 112a (Drug Crimes) -
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.
This is again where there is little distinction drawn between college age men and women attending West Point or any other university. Drugs play a large role this season of life and oftentimes, it is something as small as marijuana at a party. It is entirely possible that you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time and we will fight to make that clear.
Punitive Articles of the UCMJ 77-134 (Military Specific Offenses) -
These include charges such as fraternization, unauthorized absence (AWOL), disobeying a lawful order, conduct unbecoming an officer, and much more. The punitive articles are where we see some of the silliest and most ridiculous charges in the military. Yes, we’re all for good order and discipline, but when inconsistently applied, good men and women suffer.
We know that many of you are going to move on and become officers who will use the punitive articles in a just manner. God bless you for doing so. However, think of the worst cadet you know and give him this authority as an officer. It ends poorly for all involved.
How To Fight Back As A Cadet And Win Against UCMJ Abuse At West Point?
Once again, you never thought that you would be here, but here you are. Your only chance is to fight back and let them know that they are not going to make an easy example out of you. This is true if you are a cadet. This is true if you are a regular member of the armed services. In the cases where you cannot have legal counsel present and you must represent yourself, it is still worth having an experienced court martial defense attorney prepare you for that day.
You have to remember that the Army does indeed want to make you an officer. You also have to remember that the Army needs to make an example out of someone in order to scare everyone else into compliance. If you don’t prepare an aggressive defense, you are rolling the dice as to which course they will preference for you.
If you are facing charges or a misconduct hearing, reach out to us and give us a call. We’ll give you a free defense strategy session that you can use whether or not you decide to retain us. Make no mistake about it, regardless of the allegations against you, it is still possible to have as illustrious a career as Michael Daly. You are more than the sum of the charges against you right now. Fight back and let’s give you the military career you deserve for the greater good of us all.