Evidence of Innocence May Be Lost
You may not know it, but if you are being investigated by the military, your command and military investigators often already think you are guilty and therefore are doing everything in their power to gather all the evidence they can to prove it. Even if no one ever tells you that, you can certainly feel that you are being treated as guilty until proven innocent. In this rush to judgment, evidence showing a service member to be not guilty can be ignored, overlooked, contaminated, or destroyed altogether. Meanwhile, the service member sits utterly helpless and alone.
Nobody is Advocating for the Service Member
Making matters worse, you will not be assigned that free uniformed lawyer (usually an officer in your service) until AFTER charges are brought against you. That’s right, while a team of Government investigators with near-unlimited resources are scrutinizing your life for the crime you are suspected of (as well as any other UCMJ violations), not a single person is assigned to look out for your interests until long after the investigation is complete. But by that time evidence of innocence may have been damaged or totally ruined, and with it your hopes of exoneration.
Here is a sad fact regarding allegations of sexual assault in the military: the alleged victim is entitled to a lawyer before YOU are. Can you believe that? Despite the requirement under the US Constitution that every accused is entitled to a lawyer, the way the law is now in the military the alleged victim is assigned a free military lawyer who advocates for them at almost the moment they make allegation regardless of whether or not the allegation has any merit. Meanwhile, you are left to your own devices until charges are preferred against you or you are thrown in jail.
That’s where we come in.
As civilian court martial defense lawyers, we can and will represent and advocate for you the moment we are retained even if charges are not preferred or you are not in confinement. Most importantly, we begin our own independent, defense-oriented investigation geared toward exonerating you immediately upon being hired.
The last investigative step that is usually taken by the Government is the interrogation of the service member by CID (Army/Marine Corps), NCIS (Navy/Marine Corps), OSI (Air Force), or CGIS (Coast Guard). For a command investigation or event-driven immediate arrest, you will likely be asked to give a statement by the command’s Investigating Officer (IO) or immediately interrogated by Military Police or Security Forces at their station.
What makes an interrogation so frustrating and terrifying is that investigators can LIE to you and use ploys to mislead or lull you into a false sense of security, and repeatedly do. They often act like they are trying to be your friend or are on your side. In fact, law enforcement agents are specifically trained in the Reid Technique or other interrogation methods on how to use lies and ploys to get you to talk—to get a full confession or statements against your interest that can be presented by prosecutors to secure a conviction. The result can be a false confession that seals your fate or your own statements strung together to paint a picture of guilt where none exists. And make no mistake, INNOCENT people are wrongly convicted as a result. How do we know this? Every year innocent people are exonerated and released from prison after years in jail.
When you are brought in for questioning, you are being interrogated, not interviewed. When law enforcement is interrogating you, they want you to confess or admit guilt. When you are read your rights by law enforcement, they are telling you that you are suspected of a crime. Make no mistake about it, law enforcement doesn’t suspect you of being innocent, they suspect you of being guilty.