November 16, 2015
Successful representation of military administrative separations hearings and boards requires the lawyer to aggressively go on the offensive.
When the MCAS Cherry Point, NC, Marine called our office he was resigned to his fate. He had been arrested for a DUI in town and for other incidents of misconduct where he was accused of assaulting a police officer, contempt of a judge, and false official statement, among other accusations. The Marine had pled guilty at NJP (Article 15) for the assault on the police officer. The Marine, who ultimately became a client, was advised that there was no real defense to the accusations since he had pled guilty. He is lucky he is going to an Administrative Separation Board rather than a court martial.
Upon reviewing his case, Mr. Faraj determined that the facts alleged could and should be defended. He developed a plan for the administrative hearing to not merely defend by offering good character evidence but to attack the accusations head on. He determined to demonstrate that the Havlock, North Carolina, police officer who claimed he had been assaulted was the actual aggressor and had violated the Marine’s civil rights. By going on an aggressive offensive, Mr. Faraj was able to tell the story of a police officer who overstepped his legal bounds and violated our client’s rights. He told that story in opening, during cross examination and in closing of a police officer who realized that he had violate the law by using excessive force when he tased our client and by entering our client’s home without a warrant. He then fabricated a story about the assault and charged our client with assault and impeding an investigation which made our client angry for being unfairly tased, arrested and charged. Mr. Faraj then showed the board members how even an innocent person might admit guilt at Article 15 to avoid a court martial for fear of the consequences. By going on the offensive, Mr. Faraj proved to the members of the Board that our client’s actions were justified and understandable.
The Board refused to award the Marine an Other Than Honorable discharge. Instead, and despite a DUI and the former NJP, the Board decided to suspend a general separation under honorable conditions. If the suspension is approved the Marine will leave the Marine Corps when he EAS’s in 10 days with an honorable discharge.