If you are facing a court-martial or other adverse action, it is important to talk about PTSD.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real and it affects numerous servicemembers. While all of the services have implemented policies to try to eliminate the stigma that was once put on a servicemember seeking mental health, some servicemembers are still hesitant to talk about their mental suffering. I have met with clients from time to time who are hesitant to talk about their PTSD or even admit that they have PTSD. If you or a loved one is facing a court-martial, it is imperative that he or she talk to his or her defense counsel about their mental suffering. Mental suffering may be relevant to one’s defense at a court-martial because it may show a lack of mental responsibility, mental competence or even intent. Mental health issues to include PTSD may also be very relevant to one’s sentencing case if a servicemember is found guilty at his or her court-martial. These mental issues should be made known during one’s sentencing case, as they could serve to mitigate the circumstances and possibly lessen the sentence. In a capital case, a defense counsel must perform an investigation of any such existing mitigation evidence of this sort. In fact, the Supreme Court of the United States in Brannan v. Humphrey will be reviewing a petition to determine whether the disabled veteran in this case received ineffective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase of his trial due to a lack of focus on his mental health issues. This mitigation evidence may be important in any court-martial or military adverse action, not just in a capital case. So, if you or your loved one is facing a court-martial, court-martial appeal or adverse action in the military, he or she needs to speak to an experienced defense attorney about any mental suffering he or she may have. While it may be difficult to talk about, it is extremely important to his or her case. To speak to an experienced court-martial and military defense attorney, call Bill Cassara at 706-860-5769 for a free consultation.