When the military service initiates an adverse separation action against an officer, the officer is entitled to due process – notice of the reasons for the proposed separation as well as an opportunity to respond. Officers with six or more years of service are entitled to appear before a Board of Inquiry. During the board hearing, the officer is entitled to present evidence rebutting the reason(s) for the adverse separation action. The officer is also allowed to present evidence of good military character, duty performance, and service to the nation.
An experienced military lawyer knows how to use this information to influence the outcome of the board. Click here to see sample results for some of Mr. Kageleiry’s clients who fought back against an adverse administrative separation.
“The results speak for themselves – Thanks to Mr. Kageleiry’s advocacy I was exonerated of the allegations against me. Pete was well prepared and he did a great job convincing the board that I had not committed any misconduct.”
— from a former client.
An experienced military lawyer knows how to communicate effectively with the board members. The board is composed of three members, all of greater rank than the respondent. The senior member of the board serves as board president. In most cases, the board members have decades of experience serving the nation and take their responsibility to reach the right result very seriously. Unless the service member hires an experienced military lawyer, in most cases the board members will have much more military experience than the detailed military counsel or the government attorney arguing for discharge.
The Administrative Discharge Process
The separation action is often preceded by an adverse administrative action such as a formal reprimand or punishment under Article 15, Uniform Code of Military Justice. The officer will then be notified to “Show Cause” before a board of inquiry as to why he or she should not be separated from the service. The notice will identify the alleged reasons for separation, and the possible characterization of service (type of military discharge) the officer could receive. A prior action such as a finding of guilt at Captain’s Mast does not automatically result in a negative outcome at a separation board hearing. The board members will listen to the evidence and the arguments of counsel for both sides and reach their own conclusions.
The officer has the right to be represented by a military attorneyat the separation board hearing. The hearing is informal – the rules of evidence do not apply. However, the board is required to follow certain procedures. The service member has the right to call witnesses and present documentary evidence. The skill level of the attorneys for both the government and the respondent officer can make a difference in the outcome of the board hearing.
During the hearing, the board must answer several questions. First, does the preponderance of the evidence support a finding that the officer committed the misconduct? Second, if the officer did commit the misconduct, the board makes a recommendation as to whether the misconduct deserves separation from the military? Third, if the answer to the first two questions is yes, then the board makes a recommendation as to characterization of service – what type of administrative discharge should the officer receive? If the officer is eligible for retirement, then the board may make a recommendation as to retirement pay grade. The answers to these questions will have tremendous impact upon the officer and his or her family.
Attorney Peter Kageleiry, Jr. will fight for your career and your future.
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Attorney Peter Kageleiry, Jr., focuses his legal practice exclusively on military court-martial law and related adverse administrative actions.
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