What is your right to counsel in the Military?

A military defense counsel is provided free of charge regardless of the accused's ability to pay. You should immediately contact the defense counsel on your base if you are suspected of a crime. In the Army, it is the Trial Defense Service. In the Air Force, it is the Area Defense Counsel. In the Navy it is the Legal Services Office. Do not speak to anyone except your attorney about the substance of your case. In particular, do not speak to co-workers, military investigators or your chain of command about the charges of which you are suspected.

In addition, the accused may retain a civilian defense attorney that will work with your military attorney or you can dismiss your military lawyer. The accused is responsible for paying a civilian lawyer.

Choosing an attorney may be the most important decision that you ever have to make. It is not a decision that you should take lightly. Demonstrating the importance of choosing the right defense lawyer, on 19 December 2005, the Army Times wrote a three page article titled "Hiring Civilian Attorneys: The Costs Pay Off, Soldiers Say."

The accused has the right to be represented by counsel at the magistrate hearing when a determination is made regarding continued pretrial confinement, at the Article 32 investigation, and during all court-martial sessions.

William E. Cassara- Military Law Attorney

Recent Accomplishments

Air Force Court Reverses Military Judge’s Dismissal of Sexual Assault Charge

By William Cassara | September 3, 2020

In January 2016, Senior Airman Harrington was at a party with several individuals. SSgt FC, LB, and TSgt KW were at the party as well. The group played several drinking games, including an “adult” version of Jenga. The game required individuals to perform tasks, such as removing articles of clothing […]

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Navy Criminal Appeals

Navy-Marine Corps Court Affirms Assault Conviction for HIV Positive Marine

By Beth Harvey | August 20, 2020

NMCCA issued an opinion in the case of US v Lewis this week. Sgt Lewis was convicted of three specifications of failure to obey a lawful order, one specification of sexual assault by causing bodily harm, one specification of indecent viewing, and one specification of assault consummated by a battery. […]

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caaf army

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Limits the Use of Prior Statements at Trial

By William Cassara | July 14, 2020

Military rules of evidence generally do not allow hearsay statements to be admitted at trial. Hearsay statements are statements made outside of court that are offered as proof of the substance of that statement. There are several exceptions to the hearsay rule, such as statements included in regular business records. […]

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