Toxic Leader?

Are You One of the New Toxic Leaders? –  The Unceremonious End to Leadership

Army doctrine has embarked upon unchartered water. Army Regulation (AR) 600-100 is the unabridged testament to civilian “political correctness.” This new regulation will presumably force many of our commanders into early retirement, to include many gifted men and women who were, until now, destined for greatness.

In April 2017, this new regulation ensconced itself upon Army life.  Its emergence seems preoccupied with pacifying worried parents and their sensitive and perhaps innately disgruntled Facebook generation-children. By further implication, this misguided and profoundly overly-hypersensitive regulation attempts to treat all leaders alike, no matter their age, gender or rank.  It is the latter of these three purported characterizations that is most breathtaking.  By illustration, AR 600-100 fails to acknowledge that the customary (and inverse triangle paradigm) HHC Company Commander billet is distinct from a Division Commander role.  Indeed, by a baseball analogy, nobody should ever compare the roles of a first base coach to the club’s president.  Each “descriptive leadership requirements” requires a certain tact, a certain demeanor to get things done, and assuredly, a certain leadership aura or presence. In sum. this regulation effectively treats all U.S. Army missions, and leaders, the same.  It is therefore, with due respect, and in my humble opinion, patently absurd.

Due process requires more, and we, at Court & Carpenter PC, can help with such pithy allegations.

 

 

Is it Worth Hiring a Civilian?: Uncommon Mistakes and the Experienced Civilian Military Lawyer

I am often asked one question, above all others, and it typically comes early in a phone conversation. It goes like this: “Should I hire you?” In reply, I typically tell the prospective client and/or his father or mother: “Well, I cannot promise a result, but I can tell you we have a solid track record, exceeding all other civilian military defense lawyers in country, several years going now on AVVO.com.”  I routinely do not end the phone conversation there, however, as these repeating results are not as important as what stands behind them.  I tell my clients two things. First, for me personally, as Teddy R. once put it, “Success is never final, Failure is never fatal, Courage is all that counts.”  I live by these words both professionally and personally. I then reveal the pivotal point: “Young man, I am successful because I have made more mistakes during my decades of trial work that much younger civilian and military lawyers have yet to either imagine, or confront in a military courtroom.” That is why I win, lawyers, in essence, that have failed the most, will succeed the most. I suspect that is why folks in the military always tell me how much they have learned over the years in faithful service, the legal expert is no different.

Do I Need to Testify?: Why Three Navy Boards Retained Our Clients

I had the pleasure earlier this summer in representing three fine Sailors before separation boards in Washington State. Each case was unique. In summary, first, an officer faced the end of his career based upon an acknowledged extramarital issue. Second, another Sailor got into trouble for taking an expired medication. Finally, another Perry Officer was being accused of creating a hostile work environment. Significantly, in two out of the three cases, my client’s did not testify before the separation board. I think it is all too common for young and relatively inexperienced civilian lawyers to get somewhat, shall we say,  gun shy and force their clients to testify to get their story out. The focus, however, must always be on telling the story through other witnesses, which is easily done. The only exception to this general rule, in my humble view, is when only the client has knowledge that is profoundly important to the defense theory of the case, which, by definition  requires him or her to testify. Beware that is such circumstances the panel members will, naturally, be biting at the bit to ask your client “why he should get a pass” when others, known to the board member, have previously gotten involuntarily kicked out. One must, and I mean MUST, address this issue head-on during the initial questioning of the board members (often called voir dire), to ensure two things. First, that the board members will not assume the worst by your client not testifying.  And second, the board member concurs with you that whatever happened in those other board cases is irrelevant to the facts in your case; and life.   It is ultimately about “due process” and, in the three Navy boards that we recently defended, and were successful at, we got exactly that.

U.S. Army Sexual Harassment Summary Courts-Martial Acquittals Reveal “Complaining Witness” Obstructed Justice!

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.

Soldier Fully Acquitted of Rape at Fort Sam Houston Court-Martial

In the summer of 2016, I and Ben Hillner represented a Soldier accused of raping another soldier at Guantanamo Bay Cuba. The complaining witness’ story was that she fell asleep by our client’s side and then awoke to him sexually assaulting her. Significantly, there were no drugs or alcohol involved in her related lack of memory. Yes, she claimed to have forgotten nearly everything prior to the assault. The defense focused on the “scientific” improbability of her story. In order to meet this goal I called the U.S. Army’s preeminent expert in sleep deprivation who soundly rebuked the government’s case. It was one of the most enjoyable direct examinations of sometime. Ultimately, the client was fully acquitted of all charges by the military jury that hot Texas day.

New “Of Counsel”

It gives me great pleasure to introduce Ben Hillner to our readers. He will be working with Court & Carpenter on various cases for the remainder of 2016, and likely beyond. As one good friend once told me, “You just landed Tom Brady, Mr. Carpenter.” Go Pats

Army Appellate Court Cuts 2-Years Off Sentence Caused by Overreaching Trial Counsel

On July 27, 2015, the Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA) issued a ruling in United States v. Bridges, 74 M.J. 779 (2015) that reduced a panel’s sentence of 6 years to 4 years on account of an overzealous trial counsel that focused on the Accused’s prior acquittal that stemmed from a fifteen-year allegation of rape. In his sentencing argument, the military prosecutor emphasized that the Accused was “predisposed to sexual assault.”  The learning point for military justice practitioners is to move “in limine” prior to the trial on the merits and again on sentencing to preclude such patently unfair arguments. The defense lawyer’s focus should specifically emphasize the poignant danger of unfair prejudice under Bridges and Military Rules of Evidence (MRE) 403. See, e.g.,  Military Justice Reporter dated September 15, 2015.