General Courts-Martial Conviction Set Aside
Case Preparation and Expertise Get 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 presented expert testimony regarding the weaknesses
in both the government’s evidence and 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.
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
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.