The Law Firm of White Goldstein provides experienced representation for military service members at any U.S. military facility in the world. We represent soldiers, sailors and Marines in all aspects military criminal defense, including court-martial representation, non-judicial punishment, and military administrative law. We will fight for you and will also provide you an honest and fair appraisal of your situation. We will aggressively represent you to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Why Should You Retain a Civilian Attorney when the Military will Provide JAG Defense Counsel at No Cost?
The decision whether to hire a civilian attorney is one that may affect the ultimate outcome of your case, as well as your future, and should be made as soon as possible. In most cases, you are entitled by law to have a military judge advocate represent you. While each situation may be different, frequently the Judge Advocate General's Corp (JAG) attorney who will be assigned to your case will have less than two or three years of actual trial experience. In fact, your case may be the Judge Advocate's first contested case or member's (jury) trial. Needless to say, your attorney's level of trial and courtroom experience has a tremendous impact upon the final result, especially in complex cases. When you retain White Goldstein, you are retaining an experienced and aggressive military defense attorney who we will analyze the case files and facts, while communicating with you, to determine the best course of action. Our expertise will assist you both in, and out, of the courtroom.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) defines three different types of military courts-martial: a summary court-martial, a special court-martial, and general court-martial. They differ in their composition and the punishments that can be imposed. In all three types of courts-martial, the military rules of evidence apply and the accused military service member (the accused) must be proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
• May try only enlisted personnel for non-capital offenses.
• Punishment depends on the military grade of the accused, but may include a maximum punishment of forfeiture of two-thirds of base pay for one month and restriction for 60 days.
• The accused has the right to cross-examine witnesses, to call witnesses and to produce evidence, and to testify or remain silent. However, in the Air Force, the accused does not have the right to representation by a military defense attorney, but he or she may hire a civilian lawyer at his or her own expense.
• The accused has the right to refuse trial by summary court-martial, in which case the matter is usually referred to a special court-martial.
• Often characterized as a misdemeanor trial.
• Consists of not less than three military members (jury) and a military judge, or the accused may request to be tried by a military judge alone.
• Punishment cannot include death, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, confinement for more than one year, hard labor without confinement for more than three months, forfeiture of pay exceeding two-thirds pay per month, or any forfeiture of pay for more than one year.
• Officers, rarely tried by special court-martial, may not be discharged, confined or reduced in rank if tried by special court-martial.
• Often characterized as a felony trial.
• Consists of not less than five military members and a military judge, or the accused may request to be tried by military judge alone.
• Punishment can include death when specifically authorized. The maximum punishment is determined by the punishment authorized for the offenses referred to trial by general court-martial.
Article 32 Hearings
• An Article 32 hearing is a thorough and impartial military investigation of the accused and his or her actions.
• Required before a case can be referred to a general court-martial and is similar to a grand jury hearing in the federal system.
• The hearing inquires as to the truth of the charges brought against the accused, considers the final form of military criminal charges, and recommends what action should be taken, including dismissal of charges, changes in the military charge sheet, and/or referral to a court-martial, based on the evidence presented at the hearing.
• The accused has the right to cross-examine witnesses against him or her and to present anything or mitigating evidence.
• Non-judicial punishment (NJP) is for minor offenses of the UCMJ.
• NJP is a disciplinary measure more serious than administrative action (e.g., letter of reprimand), but less serious than a court-martial.
• NJP serves to correct misconduct without attaching the stigma of a court-martial conviction to the member of the armed forces; it does not constitute a criminal conviction.
• The accused may consult with a lawyer to determine whether to consent to a NJP proceeding, or to refuse NJP and to demand instead a trial by court-martial, if applicable. Military members attached to or embarked in a vessel may not refuse imposition of NJP, where the punishment is imposed by the vessel's commanding officer at an admiral's or captain's mast.
• Prior to imposing NJP, a hearing is held at which the military member may be present. The military member may also have a spokesman attend the hearing, present evidence, and request that certain witnesses be heard.
A military service member's obligation to the Armed Forces continues until terminated. Generally, this service is determined by the terms of the enlistment contract or officer commissioning obligation. However, earlier termination may result due to administrative or disciplinary separation through military legal processes can be based on a pattern of misconduct, drug abuse or convenience of the government. An administrative separation can be characterized as:
• General under honorable conditions
• Other than honorable
• Entry-level separation
Service members may have the right to request an administrative separation board, a hearing where an attempt to stay on active duty takes place.
White Goldstein has experience with handling military defense cases all over Southern California including Los Angeles County, San Diego County, Santa Barbara County, including cases at:
Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego (HQ Western Recruiting Region), Camp Pendleton - Oceanside, Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, Marine Corps Base, Camp Pendleton.
Air Force Bases
Coast Guard Bases
NAWS China Lake , NB Coronado, NAB Coronado, NAS North Island, NAF El Centro, NAS Lemoore, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, NS San Diego, NWS Seal Beach, NB Ventura County, NBVC Point Mugu, NBVC Port Hueneme
If you, or a loved one, is a military service member and is fighting any type of criminally-related action, then contact White Goldstein today to speak with an aggressive and knowledgeable military defense specialist: (877) 779-3946. The first consultation is free and confidential.