General Courts-Martial Conviction Set Aside

Case Preparation and Expertise Gets Results

An Army Infantry Officer stationed in Louisiana was charged with Drug Use at a General Court-Martial. He had no prior criminal history and a record of exemplary service in the Army, and he retained our firm for representation in November 2010. We represented him through pre-trial motions and at a jury trial in January, where we presented expert testimony regarding the weaknesses in the government's evidence, and weaknesses of the urinalysis testing used by the Army.

Based on recent military case law, we successfully objected at trial and suppressed the drug lab report that the prosecutors based their case on. We preserved the record by requesting a mistrial for improper testimony about the failed urinalysis report. We presented testimony about our client's good character and military service, and presented a bar owner and a bartender as witnesses who testified about other recent occurrences of other patrons who had drugs unknowingly placed into their drinks at local bars near the base, where our client had been before the urinalysis.

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Ultimately, the panel of Army officers chosen from that same installation was not willing to acquit, and they found our client guilty at trial. Based on the record of trial, the defense evidence, and the government's failures of evidence, however, we worked with our client to prepare a substantial post-trial clemency appeal to vacate the court-martial. The Army had to consider whether to grant our request to let our client voluntarily resign from the Army administratively, or face appellate review of the court-martial.

We first won the approval from the Commanding Officer of Fort Polk, and then from the Office of the Secretary of the Army. This past week the government officially granted our petition and the Court-Martial was completely set aside. The conviction was cleared from his record and overturned, and our client is already a few months into a professional career as a sales manager for a national medical firm. Contact a military criminal defense lawyer at our office to learn more.