Officer Special Court-Martial

There has been a lot of press recently about the court-martial for the former Skipper of the USS JOHN S. MCCAIN that occurred at the Washington Navy Yard on May 25, 2018.  The MCCAIN collided with another ship on August 21, 2017 off Singapore, which resulted in the loss of 10 Sailors.  CDR Alfredo Sanchez […]

Restitution in Federal Cases – Don’t expect to just give back what you received.

In criminal law, the purpose of a court ordering restitution is to make a victim who suffered a loss from the criminal activity of the defendant “whole.”  Making a victim “whole” means financially reimbursing the defendant for losses including out-of-pocket expenses related to the criminal activity.  Making a victim whole, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the […]

Navy SEALs Test Positive for Drugs

Just like every member of the military – including the brand new E-1 – Navy SEALs have to take random urinalysis at least once per year.  Last week, it was widely publicized that ten enlisted Navy SEALs and a Naval Special Warfare support Sailor popped positive for controlled substances in drug tests and now face […]

National Security Adjudicative Guidelines – Security Clearance Law

On December 10, 2016, James Clapper, then the Director of National Intelligence, issued revised National Security Adjudicative Guidelines to become effective June 8, 2017.  As background, the Adjudicative Guidelines are used by the executive agencies, including the Department of Defense (DoD), to determine initial or continued eligibility for access to classified information or eligibility to […]

Article 112a Defense, Inferences, and Military Positive Drug Tests

Article 112a, UCMJ, Wrongful Use of a Controlled Substance, has two related elements: (1) use of a controlled substance, that is (2) wrongful.  The term “controlled substance” is defined in Article 112a, UCMJ, in three ways: (1) by what is listed in the text of the article, (2) through reference to a schedule as prescribed […]

Military Positive Drug Test Defense – Innocent Ingestion

I have a passion for defending military members who have tested positive on a military urinalysis.  I am motivated, in part, by the military’s unwillingness to concede that mistakes have been made and innocent service members have been separated based on positive drug tests when they never used the drugs.  Because the average military member […]

The Coast Guard’s “stain on the military justice system”

In the midst of the military’s war on sexual assault, military commanders succumbed to political pressures on a daily basis, often sending good servicemembers to court-martial for sexual assault based on bare accusations.  As one of the Navy’s Special Victims Prosecutors, I often fought a war behind closed doors with staff judge advocates and commanders, […]

BAH fraud theories impacted by the same-sex marriage case!

The SMARTEST thing anyone suspect in a criminal investigation can do is keep his or her mouth shut.  Don’t say anything.  Don’t try to explain how it’s just a big misunderstanding.  And most importantly, don’t ever, ever admit to anything that constitutes an admission or a crime. Some smart JAG with the Army’s appellate defense […]


In NAVADMIN 304/17, the Navy cancelled the provisions of the Military Personnel Manual (MILPERSMAN) that permit the service to separate enlisted members for two or more Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA) failures.  The message also cancelled certain pending separations for PFA failure and permitted certain Sailors pending separation for PFA failure to opt to remain the […]