Probationary Officer Board of Inquiry Work, Playing the Waiting Game, and A Case Never Filed

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.”

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JUNE 2017 — Half a Year in the Books!

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


Feb-March ’17 Activity and Follow-Ups

Last Blog Post in this space was about a month ago.  I’ve copied and pasted it with some updates.  Grateful for the results and activity during this month of March 2017:

  • 3 Feb: Submitted a Show Cause – Board of Inquiry rebuttal/response for a senior reserve Army officer;   20 March received word that the USARC CG approved our request to withdraw the Show Cause Action.  Senior officer will now continue his career without having to appear before a Board of Inquiry.  This officer’s testimonial should be available and up on the website next week. 
  • 9 Feb: Submitted a request for reconsideration appeal to the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board (DASEB) for a company grade active duty Army officer; Pending analysis and final decision by the Board.  Actions like these can take six months or longer to reach a decision;

 

  • 17 Feb: Delivered a request for reconsideration on an Unqualified Resignation (UQR) action for a senior active duty Warrant officer;  Still pending final decision;
  • 20 Feb: Submitted an appeal to transfer a General Officer Reprimand (GOMOR) to DASEB for a field grade Army Reserve officer;  Pending;
  • 22 Feb: Coordinated a diversion program track for a civilian juvenile client facing a felony aggravated sexual assault charge;  Good movement on the diversion program throughout the month. 
  • 23 Feb: Began a coordinated, managed defense for an AWOL return to military control matter;  30 March – yesterday – received word from Trial Counsel that Client’s Chapter 10 request for discharge was approved by the convening authority.  Client’s 15 year AWOL ordeal will finally come to an end once administrative discharge paperwork is complete and orders cut. 
  • 27 Feb: Heard that the client’s command chain in the 3 Feb matter above recommends favorable action on our requested relief, and;   [See final resolution noted above in 3 Feb paragraph]
  • 28 Feb:  Received word that the government/military command  would not be preferring UCMJ charges against an active duty enlisted client.  Still waiting for final paperwork on the Non-Pros Memo to be signed and flag to be lifted.  Admin wheels sometimes turn slowly.
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    Grateful for the opportunities presented along the way, and for the help and support of many, without which none of the above would have been possible.  Stay tuned.  v/r Bill

February ’17: Good Month — Busy Month

Looking back over the month — it would appear that we’ve been fairly busy — to wit:
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3 Feb: Submitted a Show Cause – Board of Inquiry rebuttal/response for a senior reserve Army officer;

9 Feb: Submitted a request for reconsideration appeal to the Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board (DASEB) for a company grade active duty Army officer;

17 Feb: Delivered a request for reconsideration on an Unqualified Resignation (UQR) action for a senior active duty Warrant officer;

20 Feb: Submitted an appeal to transfer a General Officer Reprimand (GOMOR) to DASEB for a field grade Army Reserve officer;

22 Feb: Coordinated a diversion program track for a civilian juvenile client facing a felony aggravated sexual assault charge;

23 Feb: Began a coordinated, managed defense for an AWOL return to military control matter;

27 Feb: Heard that the client’s command chain in the 3 Feb matter above recommends favorable action on our requested relief, and;

28 Feb:  Received word that the government/military command  would not be preferring UCMJ charges against an active duty enlisted client.
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Grateful for the opportunities presented along the way, and for the help and support of many, without which none of the above would have been possible.  Stay tuned.  v/r Bill

Website: http://www.meililaw.com

Email: info@meililaw.com

Phone: 214 363-1828


6 Points Everyone Needs To Know About Criminal Grand Jury Proceedings

November 30, 2016

We had a nice result rendered in a Grand Jury proceeding a while back. The charge was Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Family Violence. The client’s charge was No-Billed … and in thinking about this work, I thought it might be helpful to draft out the following:

Six Points Everyone Needs to Know About Criminal Grand Jury Proceedings:

1. All adult felony charges must first be reviewed by a grand jury before further prosecution takes place, and some juvenile felony charges will be reviewed by a grand jury;
2. In most jurisdictions around the country, grand jury procedure allows the person charged to present a written case to the grand jury for its consideration before the vote to indict or no-bill. And in many jurisdictions, the grand jury wants to hear from the accused;
3. The single most important thing you can do to help a grand jury make the right decision is to retain experienced legal counsel immediately.
4. Presenting your case, with the help and guidance of an attorney experienced in Grand Jury practice and procedure, can pay huge dividends.
5. Grand Jurors, almost universally, want to do the “right thing” in any given case. By having your attorney properly present your side of the case, you help the Grand Jury reach the right decision….which ultimately helps you immeasurably.
6. A Grand Jury No-Bill (a vote not to indict) often leads to a successful expunction of all records of the arrest and charge.

I’m a former Dallas County Grand Jury prosecutor, and so learned how to do this work from the inside years ago. Given some great mentors, and the perspective afforded there — and now, with the added perspective of more than twenty-four years in private practice — I don’t think there’s a better way to win a client’s freedom — or save and protect a future and clear (expunge) his or her record, than to present the matter properly to a Grand Jury.

Please call, and we can discuss your case in greater detail.

Very respectfully,

Bill Meili, Attorney and Counselor at Law – Criminal Defense and Military Law. 214 363-1828 or info@MeiliLaw.com


Dental Officer Victorious in GOMOR, Show Cause — (BOI) Board of Inquiry Action:

This was a case of a Dental Officer who was going out on an Honorable because he couldn’t pass his final licensing exams. The Army had brought him on board with the understanding that he had to pass those exams within a year’s time in order to become fully credentialed (licensed). When he couldn’t, the Army started elimination action for substandard performance. But shortly into that process, he was stopped on post by MPs for suspicion of DWI. No charge was ever formally filed, and the evidence was questionable. But as is almost always the case these days — his CG issued a GOMOR (General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand), and the servicing SJA office recommended a Show Cause action for misconduct. (Did I say no formal charge was ever filed???) So now he was in jeopardy of going out with a less than honorable characterization of service for being a bad actor. Not necessarily career enhancing in the civilian world.

We fought it over the past six months up to the Assistant Secretary of the Army level … and the ASA, suprisingly I have to tell you … issued an honorable discharge characterization. Our client left active duty on the 15th of September and started a new job with a civilian dentist two weeks ago. This dentist will provide the necessary supervision and oversight until such time as our client enters a fellowship program with another professional. If he does well in both places — with both Docs — he’ll be a fully licensed, credentialed and accredited dentist under the laws of this jurisdiction.

And that’s a good news story for any day of the week.   (You can also read this Client’s Testimonial on our website’s (meililaw.com) testimonial page.    Thanks.  Bill Meili

 


How to Get Promoted

WANT TO GET PROMOTED? HERE’S HOW

From time to time I’m asked to consult on promotion board issues. Below is an excerpt from a piece I wrote several years ago … which summarizes some techniques and ideas I’ve seen bear fruit over the past thirty years or so. If you or someone you know is coming up for promotion in the next eight to twelve months, or if you’ve been passed over and are looking to plus up your chances at a second look, I’d be happy to consult and be a “second set of eyes” on your career and file generally.

v/r Bill Meili,   Office: 214 363-1828,  Email: info@meililaw.com
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1. Photo: Do everything you can think to do to have your Official Photo reflect the officer/person/professional you are when you’re at your best, most comfortable, competent self. Posture, angle, facial expression, uniform’s fit, lighting … everything. Get help from a photographer who knows his/her business. Get help from a military photographer if at all possible. Show that person previous promotion/official photos. We all get older, but that doesn’t mean anything really. The years and experience should show in some way on a photo of someone going for higher field grade rank. Photo is of prime importance to anyone looking over your file. Spend the extra time and trouble to get it right.

2. Meet with your Bosses: Arrange a time and sit down with your commander/rater/senior rater. Ask that they consider submitting a complete the record or senior rater option (if applicable) OER on you in sufficient time to make it before your next board. During this conversation, speak candidly about the fact that a top block rating might well be the difference maker. And then have a fair and frank conversation about what it will take to make that top cut. It’s tough to hit a standard if you don’t know exactly what you’re shooting at. Ask. Where’s the bar set in the senior rater’s eyes. It’s a good discussion to have, and there’s no downside. It’s also a discussion that rarely happens — especially for some reason in the Reserve component. AR 623-3, Paragraphs 3-56 and 3-57 are helpful.

3. Military Education: Whatever you can do to “fast burn” a completion on ILE, or whatever course of studies you’re working, do it. And then get the completion certificate ready to go.

4. Make Extra Time for Additional Duties/Helping the Commander and Unit do Good Things: The more time you can devote to the unit’s business –vice yours — the better your chances are going to be to get promoted. Selfless service is essential. And, to the extent you can, help your bosses do their jobs better. Their jobs?  Leading troops by taking care of their needs first, and having them ready, inspired, capable and competent to perform whatever missions are thrown their way. When you do this, your boss will not only write that optional, complete-the-record OER, he or she will have some specific and powerful things to say regarding your potential for serving at the next higher level.