JUVENILE–ADULT CRIMINAL COURT CROSSOVER CASE STUDY
Criminal Defense Case Study
Matter: Juvenile – Adult Criminal Court Crossover Case Study
Summary #1: 16 year old Juvenile client charged as a primary accomplice with Burglary of a Habitation/Home Invasion, with firearms being the primary target. Client was IQ intelligent from a good supportive family, had an engaging personality when he chose to use it, and he had a number of things going for him in his life. But, as happens sometimes, the choices he was making weren’t particularly sound.
Result #1: We were able to communicate the client’s good points to the prosecution and probation departments; we got a significant break when the complaining witness filed an affidavit of non-prosecution, and client, to his credit, kept his nose clean for a while — all of which led to an agreed reduction of the charge and no formal punishment being assessed by the court.
Summary #2: Before we actually received the result above in juvenile court, client decided he wasn’t done with the poor choice world, and so got himself arrested for another burglary — this time as a 17 year old,. Under Texas law that qualified him as an adult in Criminal District court. Having a felony conviction on your record as you’re just starting out into the adult world is not a pleasant thing to contemplate, and his future was in some jeopardy.
Result #2: Fortunately, we ran into yet another reasonable prosecutor on this case. He worked with me and the client’s family, and we were able to put together a plan for a diversionary track. Essentially this meant that client would be on a pre-disposition form of probation for about a year, complete various conditions, and stay the course and out of trouble throughout. His family played a huge supportive role, client grew up and met his responsibilities, and the upshot was a felony dismissal with no criminal conviction. He’ll have a clean slate, and be off paper entirely in about 10 months.
Highlights: Sitting down with client and his mother near the end of his diversion period, and having an honest chat with a young man about how he needed to change his conduct and step up — and then seeing him respond.
References: Our client’s mother. Please call our office at 214 363-1828 for further information and contact numbers. You can also read this mother’s testimonial below:
I want to thank Mr. Bill Meili for his help when my son decided to make some extremely poor choices in his life. As a mother, you want your child to have the best start in life and the best possible outcome. Mr. Meili provided stellar legal representation for my son over an extended period, resulting in a positive outcome in both the juvenile and adult criminal courts. The results achieved will allow my son a new start as a young adult. For that, I will always be grateful.
Most importantly, Bill Meili took the time and effort to guide and direct my son in making better life choices which he will carry with him throughout his life. Mr. Meili’s compassion and continued support gave me strength, as a mother, during an extremely difficult time. He worked with great integrity and honesty with my son and our entire family, and he had my son’s best interest in mind at all times.
— Tammy D.
To see all of Bill’s AVVO reviews click here
SHOW CAUSE BOARD OF INQUIRY, UQR, GOMOR and ARMY DASEB REPRESENTATION
Have started 2018 with some good news on several cases for clients, the latest of which is highlighted below. Last month, we were fortunate to receive an approved Unqualified Resignation (UQR) for an Army MSC officer client, and we also heard back from DASEB (DA Suitability Evaluation Board) that another officer client’s request to have his GOMOR transferred to the restricted fiche was granted. That was on a first-time request.
We also received a couple of notices last month where our requests for favorable relief were denied. Both of those cases involved BOI actions for probationary officers (less than 5 years of active federal commissioned service) with no right to a “live” Board, and with allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct as basis for the Show Cause. One of those cases is on appeal.
Earlier this week, I received word from DASEB on another Army officer who I’ve known for more than 4 years. His story is compelling. One of the best officers I’ve had the good fortune to work with over my time as a lawyer. His spirit is undiminished by his long ordeal and his character remains strong and resilient. DASEB granted his second request to transfer a GOMOR. He comes up for a second look at promotion later this year, and I’m pulling that the Army does the right thing with a selection. We would all benefit. My client’s thoughts are shared below in his testimonial.
Thank you, and if you or someone you know has a need, don’t hesitate to give my office a call or shoot an email. v/r Bill Meili
“I contacted Bill Meili over 4 years ago to represent me on a Show Cause Board of Inquiry (BOI) due to a GOMOR being permanently filed in my performance fiche. The Board voted to retain me, but my career was still in doubt because the GOMOR was still in place. Since day 1, however, Mr. Meili has provided sound advice and given me hope that there is still a chance to overcome my long-ago mistake and continue my career. Bill Meili truly cares and ensures that everything is being handled fairly and with respect for the whole person concept. Recently, the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board (DASEB) gave me relief, transferring my GOMOR to my restricted fiche — again with Mr. Meili as my attorney. It has been a long journey and Mr. Meili has always been available providing sound advice and guidance. It is great to know that there is someone who I may contact if in need. He excels in his craft and genuinely cares. The only regret I have is not contacting him earlier in the process!” JJ CPT, USA
Another good news moment came in end of last month before Thanksgiving. Happy to report that a difficult journey through the legal system for a wonderful young man and his entire family ended happily with the dismissal of the referred charge and a declination of prosecution.
Grateful for all the people involved from extended family, therapists, our investigator, the Assistant District Attorney who worked with me on the matter, and also to the CPS worker and investigating law enforcement agent I spoke to and worked with early on. So many people are involved in a case like this, and it was a privilege to work with them all. My client’s father wrote this about his family’s experience:
“Words cannot describe how Bill has helped our family navigating the ultra complicated legal landscape. My son was in significant trouble and Bill was there with us the entire time advocating, recommending a course of action, and constant follow up with not only us but with all of the involved Legal parties. I can’t explain in a short review the weight that was lifted off of our family’s shoulders with Bill’s assistance.”
If you know anyone needing assistance with a criminal defense matter — adult or juvenile — please consider giving our office a call. Thank you. Bill Meili (214) 363-1828 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Update on the following from last Monday’s Blog post: ” … the office has several Army matters still hanging fire … a UQR (Unqualified Resignation) now at HRC for an Army aviator…” Happy to report that this Army aviator’s UQR was approved last Thursday. Really good news for a good man and his family.
Recent activity in the past three months since my last post has centered around Boards of Inquiry Defense for probationary officers. Show Cause/BOIs for probationary officers — typically those with less than 5 years of commissioned service — are particularly challenging, because of the lesser amount of due process provided by regulation. In plain language, if the local command recommends a characterization of service no worse than a General, Under Honorable Conditions, the probationary officer has no recourse to present his or her case to a “live” board of officers. It’s simply a paper presentation to his command chain for a decision by the GOSCA (usually the CG of the local installation).
That said, it’s so important to engage the chain of command early and often in order to have some hope of swaying a recommendation from them for retention, or in some cases even to close a case without it going forward. Also, it’s essential for the lawyer to call on the servicing JAG or SJA’s office so that an early and substantive dialogue can be initiated. Without that, especially in a case where there is no “live” board to advocate before and with, there is virtually no effective way to sway the GOSCA towards a more favorable view of the respondent/client.
In addition to the probationary officer cases mentioned, the office has several Army matters still hanging fire, waiting decision at DASEB on GOMOR appeals and at DASA on one of those BOIs, as well as a UQR (Unqualified Resignation appeal) now at HRC for an Army aviator, and one Marine case pending at the PERB (Performance Evaluation Review Board at Quantico) where we’re seeking to correct a Fitrep injustice. Keeping fingers crossed on all.
Finally, I wanted to share an unexpected bright spot which came to my attention this morning. I had worked with a family the past two years on a civilian, criminal matter. Thankfully, and with a lot of work by many people on both sides of the aisle, the state made a decision to decline prosecution. No case was filed. The bright spot this morning came in the form of a few words posted by my client’s father to a social media platform. Here’s the post in his words, and I’m forever grateful for Rob and his entire family that the result was what it was: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Posted by Rob on Avvo.com
“Our Son was in significant trouble and we knew right away that he was going to need the absolute Best Representation by a Knowledgeable and Thoughtful Professional. You see, I was in a position where I knew Bill, not well, but well enough to know that in my heart I could “Trust” that Bill would do everything in his power to help our Family. He did just that and a lot more!”
“You see, Bill not only gave my Son all that he had, he poured his heart into my Family, literally keeping us in one piece. This is what gave us all strength to get through our long and difficult journey. I hate to think where my Son and my Family would be without Bill in our Lives.”
What a ride it’s been this year. Grateful for the opportunity to help many facing adversity and rough patches of varying degree and scope.
Had the distinct pleasure to work with some remarkable people this past month. Looking forward to favorable decisions in two of those cases, and, equally, to a new challenge next month on a third. Warmest wishes to all for a safe, sane and easy Fourth of July holiday weekend! Bill
[This is follow-up to a matter discussed in a 31 March Blog Posting discussing pending matters. The case was favorably resolved for Client last month on 19 April 2017 with an Administrative Discharge and final release from active duty (REFRAD)]
AWOL Case Study
Matter: AWOL, Returning to Military Control after an Extended Absence of 14 Years
Summary: This case involved the safe and successful return of our Client to military control from an AWOL status, and his subsequent administrative (vice court-martial) discharge from the service.
Our client went AWOL from Ft. Hood, Texas in 2002 when he was 21 years old. He listened to a barracks lawyer at some point before he left who told him that if he returned in less than 30 days he would be ok. He returned to post after 28 days believing his unit would simply discharge him administratively at that time. They didn’t. Instead, he was assigned extra duties, and life became extremely challenging. After about 10 days of what the client felt was unjustified and abusive treatment, he again went AWOL, returned home, and began looking over his shoulder figuratively – and sometimes literally — for the next fourteen years.
He married, worked hard, went to school and graduated with honors in accounting, and began the process of obtaining his CPA license. Additionally, he was a non-citizen, green card holder. He knew that U.S. citizenship and professional licensure were likely out of the question so long as his AWOL status remained unresolved. But, he was afraid that if he returned to military control he would be prosecuted, convicted and likely jailed, and that everything he had worked for and accomplished in the fourteen years since he left Ft. Hood that second time would be lost. He also worried about the possibility of deportation. Finally, his wife, realizing that something had to be done, urged him to face reality and take care of his business.
He called our office and I spoke with him at length about what needed to be done. I also helped him understand what the process would likely entail, what the various outcomes could be, and how long things would take to resolve.
After extensive coordination with the client, his family and with the client’s parent unit and that unit’s servicing Judge Advocates, together with a careful plan to address each step of the return process, and with some realistic and high-minded help from various sources, we were able to avoid a court-martial and near certain felony conviction for this client.
Result: While the client’s command chain recommended a court-martial, the General Officer convening authority — on the advice and counsel of his SJA, and that SJA’s senior Trial Counsel — ordered our Client discharged administratively.
Highlights: Seeing a deserving, intelligent but very nervous man courageously face the consequences of his long ago actions, and in the process successfully become free and clear of his, “unfinished business” with the Army.
Finally, I have to credit the major installation Senior Trail Counsel, her Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) and his boss, the acting Commanding General (CG) who made the final decision not to prosecute my client under the UCMJ for his long ago transgressions, over and against chain-of-command recommendations to the contrary. That decision will resonate with my client, his family and their fortunes for the rest of their lives. Many thanks, therefore, are due to everyone involved in this one. I am extremely grateful indeed.
References: Please call us at 214-363-1828 or email us at email@example.com for further details and contact/referral information for the client. Client’s Testimonial appears below.
Client’s Testimonial: “Words cannot express how good of a lawyer Bill Meili is. I had an AWOL case hanging over my head for 14 years. Before I contacted Bill, I called multiple lawyers to handle the case. It seemed most of them just wanted to prove that it was a complicated situation so they could take a huge amount of money from me. Bill, on the other hand, was very caring and actually wanted to solve my problem before even talking about money. Bill did an amazing job! He handled all issues and the necessary defense paperwork and briefs, traveled numerous times to Fort Sill and Fort Hood, Texas, and overall made sure I was safe and that my case was being properly handled by the government. Without a doubt Bill is not only committed and dedicated to his work, he is an honest, caring and a loving person. His experience and knowledge got me out of the Army with an administrative discharge. There were other similar cases to mine on the base which ended up with jail time for those soldiers. I was so glad that I had Bill Meili on my side to take care of me. I am sure if it was not for Bill, I would have had the same results as others and ended up with a federal conviction. I recommend anyone and everyone who needs any assistance — no matter how tough the situation is — call Bill Meili without any hesitation. You will appreciate it and will have no regret in your life.”
Client wishes to remain anonymous