I recently defended two courts-martials in which the alleged victim (i.e. “the complaining witness”) claimed to have been offended by separately made statements. made by my client, while they were jointly stationed at Ft. Lewis/JBLM. During these summary courts-martial, a Perry Mason moment occurred when a witness for the government admitted, under oath that the complaining witness, told him to lie in his sworn statement to the investigating officer. As a result, both courts-martial I defended resulted in “Not Guilty” findings. During our case, significantly, we never contested what was said, instead I focused on the fact that the complaining witness was exaggerating her story to get a transfer out of the unit. This was a fabulous win, and only goes to show that complaining witnesses will definitely seek out others to help support their case, even if it means getting them to lie in sworn statements.
I recently had the pleasure of representing a young man who was facing criminal charges related to a “make-out” session that he allegedly had with another paralegal. The local command was wholly behind the Soldier, and the notion that the case did not rate ruining his life. Unfortunately, for him, the SJA apparently pressured higher command to refer charges. This was a classic case of unlawful command influence. After meeting with the local command sergeant major I was able to “effect” things and the charges were later dropped. This is a perfect example of how meeting with the local chain of command at Ft Lewis can make a huge difference in helping his future.