We work with clients NATIONWIDE to develop and submit your application to upgrade your general or other than honorable discharge to the appropriate administrative board. We are former military judge advocates (“JAGS”) with more than 50 years of total experience at all levels of military justice who understand the stress, stigma, and disadvantages caused by unjust discharge characterizations.
Set The Record Straight
Have you been separated from the military service with a general or under other than honorable conditions discharge? Was the process unfair? Did your commander not consider your whole record of service? Were you given a urinalysis that was done incorrectly? Are you a combat veteran? Have been diagnosed as PTSD? Do you think you have PTSD? Did other Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, or Coast Guardsmen get better outcomes than you did for doing the same thing? Are you involved in an Article 32 investigation? Were you pressured to waive your rights to a military discharge board where you could have explained what really happened? Did you ask your commander to change the board’s decision and he didn’t even read your request? If any of this happened to you, YOU HAVE RIGHTS. At Williams Stone Carpenter Buczek, PC, we have attorneys with the military experience you need to SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT.
Mr. William’s experience includes:
- Civil Litigation Attorney: Represented the Department of the Navy in federal courts nationwide, in cases involving constitutional torts, civil rights. Administrative Law, federal benefits, FOIA and Privacy Act appeals.
- Deputy Circuit Judge: Presided over Criminal felony and misdemeanor bench and jury trials in Okinawa, Japan, and Iwakuni, Japan.
- Senior Appellate Defense Attorney: Drafted appellate Pleadings in hundreds of criminal appeals and presented oral arguments before the Navy and Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, and the Navy Clemency and Parole Board.
- Commanding Officer: Commanded a company of over two hundred Marine Corps officer candidates. Planned and executed training events. Enforced discipline and maintained academic Standards.
- In-House Counsel, Manpower and Reserve Affairs: Provided Counsel and advice to the Marine Corps’ human resource leaders and policy officers on diversity, employment contracts, compensation, retention, and military administrative law; Advised the Commanding General Overseeing Marine Corps operations originating on the West Coast, Provided legal advice on environmental property, tort, international, and criminal law matters. Conducted criminal investigations.
- Senior Defense Counsel: Represented hundreds of Marines accused of serious felonies and misdemeanors at trial.
- Officer in charge, Legal Assistance Center: Provided legal assistance to Marines and their families concerning immigration, real property, landlord-tenant, estate planning, family and consumer law.
- Prosecutor: Prosecuted Marines accused of serious felonies and misdemeanors in courts-martial. Advised evidentiary, constitutional, and administrative matters relating to criminal prosecutions.
- Aviation Ordnanceman: Diagnosed and repaired weapons systems on F-4 Phantoms.
Mr. Stone’s experience includes:
- Judge, Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals
- Judge, Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary (General Courts-Martial)
- Judge, Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary (Special Courts-Martial)
- Judge, U.S. Military Commissions
- Deputy Director, Military Law Branch, Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps
- Military Criminal Law Advisor to the Judge Advocate General, United States Navy
- Member, Working Group, JOINT SERVICE COMMITTEE ON MILITARY JUSTICE (JSC)
- Deputy Director, Appellate Defense Division, JAGC, U.S.N.
- Litigator, Appellate Government Division, JAGC, U.S.N.
- Death Penalty Defense
- Military Criminal Defense
- Administrative Discharge Defense
You are fighting for your career. You must convince a board of senior military members that you did not commit the offenses charged and that you should be retained on active duty. The administrative discharge board doesn’t have to follow the Military Rules of Evidence. It’s vitally important that your military attorney understands how the military really works, can communicate effectively with the board members, and present you in your best possible light.
Administrative separations are the military’s way of “firing” people before the end of their active service. You do not want “dishonorable discharge” or “involuntary discharge” on your military record. It can dog you for the rest of your days, ruining your employment prospects and making you ineligible for veterans’ benefits, educational benefits, and other entitlements.
You have the right to appear in person before the administrative board. You can go by yourself, but counsel is recommended. Your attorney must be willing to put forth every possible positive piece of info about you to clear your name. Your lawyer will call up witnesses on your behalf and will submit statements, affidavits, certificates, awards — anything that attests to the character of your service.
Boards of Inquiry
If you are an officer accused of misconduct or substandard performance, you’ll want to retain the best military lawyer you can find. Boards of inquiry (BOI) are not courts-martial. They are wide-ranging inquiries that require a lawyer who can think more broadly, can quickly understand the issues at hand, and come up with a critical defense. Although a BOI is a noncriminal hearing, it often has the same potentially damaging effect a court-martial would have if it’s not pursued with the same aggressiveness. An officer without experienced military legal representation could face separation from the military.
As a military member accused of misconduct, you don’t need just any civilian attorney who may have spent a few years in the military. You need a lawyer who has extensive military experience, who has actually practiced law in the military. We will present your case in its best light and convince the board to retain you on active duty and dismiss the charges against you as unfounded.
Correction of Military Records
If your career was ended in anything other than an honorable discharge, do not give up hope. The boards for correction of military records were created by Congress to give you a chance to present your case, set the record straight, and upgrade your discharge characterization. You can apply to the review board for your branch of service by yourself, but it’s best to have an experienced military lawyer to represent you in hearings.
There are a number of things you can have corrected on your military record, including promotions, retired pay, household goods, pay date changes, bonuses, and MGIB programs. Perhaps the most sought-after correction is a military discharge upgrade.
The military attorney whom you hire must have a comprehensive understanding of the military justice and administrative regulations that are the basis for awarding honorable, general, and other than honorable discharges. We have represented hundreds of active duty and former active-duty military members. We have a track record of success in obtaining discharge upgrades.
If your discharge resulted because you were AWOL for more than 180 days, you won’t be eligible for VA benefits unless your attorney can convince the Veterans Administration that you acted under compelling circumstances. If you were disabled or your injuries were aggravated during active duty service, you may qualify for benefits regardless of how your service is characterized.
Court Martial Defense
The U.S. military has high expectations for members of its armed forces. You are expected to be a ferocious fighter of our nation’s enemies, follow rules and display extraordinary conduct. If you fall short, you can be headed for a court-martial hearing in double-quick time. If you are stationed in Virginia, we can help. We have attorneys with significant military experience, one has served as a military defense attorney, military trial judge, and military appellate judge. Over the years, we have represented hundreds of military clients from the most minor offenses to the most severe.
Some crimes can land you in the brig faster than others. In addition to insubordination, espionage and conduct unbecoming an officer, military personnel can also be tried for
- Sexual assault
- Drug charges, including use and possession
- Orders violations
- Alcohol offenses
- Misappropriation of government property
Other court-martial offenses are spelled out by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Court-martial offenses are the military version of a felony. The punishments exacted by a general court-martial are tough. They may include imprisonment without parole or the death penalty, complete forfeiture of pay, reduction in rank, and a dishonorable discharge.
Nonjudicial punishment sounds warm and friendly, but it will stop your military career dead in its tracks. Known as “captain’s mast” in the Navy and Coast Guard, “office hours” by the Marines, and “Article 15” in the Army and Air Force, nonjudicial punishment is part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. It is not a military court-martial. However, unless properly defended, nonjudicial punishment may lead to your inability to be promoted in the future at best. At its worst, it may lead to your separation from military service with an other than honorable discharge.
You don’t have to rely on the attorney your service branch assigns you. When your commanding officer calls you for a nonjudicial punishment hearing, you need an attorney who understands the seriousness of the proceeding and its potential effects on your career and life. You need a lawyer who knows military justice regulations.
With two attorneys having spent 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, we have significant military experience and have successfully defended hundreds of service members and kept them from being discharged from the military. Successful defense at your hearing requires as much preparation and insight as any other form of discipline in the military. We prepare clients for nonjudicial punishment as if they are going to court-martial. It’s that serious.
Contact Williams Stone Carpenter Buczek, PC Today
If you’re in trouble with the military, don’t leave your future to chance. We assist members of the military with criminal & family matters throughout Northern Virginia & beyond. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.