Young Navy Ensign Gets a Second Chance — Here’s His Story

Navy Ensign’s Hopeless Situation Resolved with NPQ chit, Redesignation and Reclassification through a POCR Board              

About one year into my service in the Navy, I became sick with an unknown allergy that was specific to my geographic location. Despite multiple civilian doctors asserting their professional opinions that my issues were caused by my location, my command and medical clinic would not move me. Instead, I was placed on hold status with the hopes I would get better. Having never experienced this before and overcome by the dizziness and recurring infections brought on by my condition, I struggled for a long time with what course of action to take. It was when I had been on hold for almost an entire year that I reached a breaking point and knew I needed to take action.

I stumbled upon Bill Meili’s website – www.meililaw.com – while searching for military lawyer expertise and set up a face-to-face meeting with him. He took the time to listen to my entire story from start to finish, careful to take down every detail. It was clear from the start that he related and sympathized with me – he truly cared for what I was going through.

Having been stuck in a stalemate for months (my physical and mental health deteriorating and my career stalling) he helped me sort through a multitude of options I did not realize I had at my disposal and to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Together, we made a plan based on this information that would help move things forward for me. Along the way, he reached out to significant contacts at my command and sources of information on his end to keep me properly informed and making the correct decisions for my well-being throughout the process.

Fast forward 3 months and my command had granted me a Not Physically Qualified (NPQ) chit and written me orders to a new location and new designator that will keep me out of that region for the rest of my time in the service. I fortunately avoided a MEDBOARD and resignation of my commission, two options that I held as last resorts. I received re-assignment through a Probationary Officer Continuation and Redesignation Board (POCR) and have been reclassified into a new community. My issues have improved tremendously and my career is back on the right track moving forward.

Before I met Bill, my situation seemed hopeless. I was overcome by a sense of helplessness that can be brought on by being part of such a large organization like the military. When I hired him, though, everything changed. I was expecting a lawyer; not only did I get an excellent one but also a partner with whom to navigate my seemingly impossible situation. I would have done anything to get out of the circumstance I found myself in and knowing that Bill was on speed dial to help me navigate whatever challenges each new day brought can only be described as priceless. Should anything ever go awry for me again in the future, Bill will be my first call!         ENS, USN

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SHOW CAUSE/BOI, UQR, GOMOR and DASEB Representation

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

Testimonial: 

“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


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:
______________________________________________

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