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


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

 


Conditional Resignation in Lieu of Separation, (RILO), Approved Today with Honorable Discharge

Received word this afternoon that our probationary officer client’s 7 month ordeal to leave service with dignity and respect after allegations of misconduct and conduct unbecoming surfaced this past February, will end favorably in the very near future.

I’m so happy for my client, and I’m grateful once again that despite time and much friction along the way, the Army did finally render a fair and just decision.

I also want to express my thanks to the active duty JAG officer assigned this case.  He was throughout the representation, professional, tenacious in representing his client, and yet, at the same time, always reasonable, respectful and open-minded to our requests and initiatives.  I can’t say enough good things about him.

If you’re a probationary or non-probationary officer facing a Board of Inquiry separation, please give us a call.  I’d be happy to discuss your situation in detail, and help you explore a way forward.  Office: 214 363-1828; Cell: 214 536-3888 or feel free to visit the website http://www.meililaw.com for more information about the practice generally.

v/r   Bill Meili, COL (Ret.), JA, USAR,  Attorney and Counselor at Law


NEW YEAR — and SECOND FULL WEEK ALMOST IN THE BOOKS …. QUICK UPDATE on Our Latest SHOW CAUSE – BOARD of INQUIRY (BOI)

 

Favorable final action came in last week on our latest Show Cause – Board of Inquiry.  The client’s Commanding General (CG) directed retention, and HRC accepted that decision.  Could not be any happier for this fine officer, who now continues his 14 year active duty career without restriction.

As I think about last year’s results, and start up again for 2016, I can’t help but feel grateful to be able to tell and present my clients’ stories — what’s really going on in any given case — to the decision makers up and down the chain.   And the best, most effective  stories, the ones which resonate and “stick” most often in the client’s favor, are based firmly on truth. If we can get there, good things invariably happen — for all concerned. I liken it to playing chess in 3 dimensions. Crazy challenging at times, but fascinating and ever changing.

If you or someone you care about or know needs a hand, please give me a call or drop a note.  I’d be happy to see how I can help.

Very respectfully. Bill Meili   214 363-1828 or Toll Free 866 578-0164.  Info@Meililaw.com