Another Issue at the Navy Drug Screening Laboratory

When I first started practicing military law, the Navy had 4 Navy Drug Screening Laboratories (NDSL). NDSL Jacksonville – still open, though it has had issues in the past, it was generally thought to be the most well-run laboratory. NDSL Great Lakes – still open, has had at least 2 documented false positive reports and […]

NCIS Investigation Survival Guide

Subject of a Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Investigation? Follow this guide if you are under investigation by NCIS! How do I know if I am under investigation by NCIS? NCIS likes to keep the fact that they are investigating you quiet for as long as possible!  There is no notification that is required to […]

Court-Martial Defense – The investment in a court-martial defense team

I rarely bad mouth active duty JAGs who serve as assigned military defense counsel.  One reason is that I was one of them.  I supervised them.  I trained them.  Every day there are court-martial being defended where I had some type of impact on either the judge, prosecutor, or defense counsel.  In my reserve capacity […]

Florida’s 10-20-Life Law Explained

Florida’s “10-20-Life” law is a law that requires courts to impose a minimum sentence of 10 years, 20 years, or 25 years to life for certain felony convictions involving the use or attempted use of a firearm or destructive device. If the firearm is an assault weapon or machine gun, they must impose a sentence […]

Retirement Grade Determinations for Navy and Marine Corps Officers

This post will discuss retirement grade determinations (RGD) for Regular Navy and Marine Corps Officers.  This post addresses the situation in which an officer has earned the right to retire as an officer but may face a RGD. There are certain requirements to retire as an officer that will not be addressed in this post; […]

Discharge Upgrades – VA actually has some darn good guidance

I take a handful of discharge upgrade cases each year. I am very selective on the cases I take for several reasons: the cases have a long lifespan if they are done right (normally more than 2 years); the chance of success is relatively low if the case does not involve PTSD, homosexuality and a […]

Positive Military Drug Test for THC – What does it mean?

Do you love that video? “Beyond a doubt”!  Not sure who came up with that, but over the years there are known errors at the military’s drug labs – across all services.  False positives, contamination, misplaced or lost samples, and unknown DNA contributors in the urine.  And it shouldn’t be unexpected.  Did you see how […]


I recently wrapped up a Navy Board of Inquiry (board found no misconduct; returned member to duty) where the officer was alleged to have “wrongfully used a prescription drug.”  During the 8months it took to get this case before a board of inquiry, the officer was transferred from his normal position to a temporary assignment, […]

Loss of Evidence in a Criminal Case – Any Relief?

Whether it is a State, Federal, or Military criminal prosecution, the loss of evidence or the failure to preserve favorable evidence can undermine a criminal defendant’s ability to successfully mount a defense.  The police/investigators are the first persons investigating a crime.  They do this, normally, before anyone has been charged and hopefully soon after the […]

Administrative Separation Board – Positive urinalysis for prescription drug defense

The military drug testing laboratories first screen each urine sample using a presumptive immunoassay screening test.  Those samples that test negative for the 9 substances (possibly 10 if a synthetic cannabinoids screening is completed) are discarded and negative results are reported.  Those samples that test positive during the immunoassay screening are retained and tested for […]