Always ask to speak to an attorney!!

As I review military appellate decisions, I sometimes find myself amazed at the facts leading up to the court-martial.  For instance, recently I read an Air Force case, U.S. v. Lovely, where the appellant was questioned by an Air Force Special Investigator and was indecisive about requesting an attorney.  At first, he affirmatively requested an attorney, but then as the investigator asked him questions about whether he wanted to speak to an attorney “right now,” the appellant seemed to back away from the idea, saying “I don’t think I need one right at this point.”  Then, when further questioned about this, the appellant seemed to return to the idea that he wanted to speak to an attorney.  Finally, the appellant in the end decided that he didn’t need to speak with an attorney right then.  Ultimately, the appellant gave a statement incriminating himself.  I have said this before in a blog, but I will say it again.  Always invoke your right to remain silent and always ask to speak to an attorney!!  Investigators are not your friends.  They are simply trying to get a confession out of you.  When they ask if you want to invoke your rights and/or speak to an attorney, say yes to both!  By law, after you request both rights, they will have to leave you alone.  Many servicemembers feel that they make themselves look guilty when they invoke their rights.  This is not true.  You look smart when you do this.  If you make a statement, you will most likely say something that you regret later, whether you are innocent of the accusations or not.  So just don’t.  Ask to remain silent, ask to speak to an attorney.  If the investigator asks you whether you mean, “right now,” as occurred in U.S. v. Lovely, then respond by saying “yes, right now.”  Then call me.    The consultation is free, so you have nothing to lose.  To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

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