The following charges were preferred against a Navy E-8 with 22 years of service: Charge I: Art. 92, violation of General Order or Regulation – specification 1, sexual harassment; specification 2, fraternization with an E-4; Charge II, Art. 93, maltreatment of subordinate; Charge III: Art. 120(c), indecent exposure. The Government at that point was intending to have the case considered at Art. 32 Preliminary Hearing. The Senior Chef retained a civilian defense counsel who represents military clients, and that civilian counsel negotiated a pretrial agreement which his client signed, terms of which required the E-8 to plead Guilty to the fraternization and maltreatment offenses, and further provided that he would serve between 60-120 days of confinement and be reduced to E-6. Furthermore, although the command would positively endorse his request to transfer to the Fleet Reserve, he had to unconditionally waive his right to appear before an administrative separation board, which meant that he would most likely be separated with a characterization of OTH (other than honorable). The plea agreement further provided that if he withdrew from the plea agreement, the charges could be referred for an Art. 32 preliminary hearing, which was a prelude to a General Court-Martial. After he signed the plea agreement, the case was set for trial by Special Court-Martial – end result of where he was heading upon advice of that civilian counsel, was a federal conviction for both fraternization and the more serious offense of maltreatment of subordinates, as well as a minimum of 60 days, and up to 120 days of confinement, reduction to E-6, and OTH characterization for separation.
Prior to his scheduled trial date, the Senior Chief sought out the second opinion of Attorney Greg McCormack, after which he terminated his civilian counsel and retained Mr. McCormack. Upon substituting Mr. McCormack as his civilian counsel, the prosecution cautioned Mr. McCormack that if the Senior Chief did not proceed with the previously executed plea agreement, that the charges would be referred to an Art 32 Preliminary Hearing. Mr. McCormack immediately secured and reviewed a copy of preliminary discovery from the government and gathered additional information from the senior chief, to his detailed summary of events and his phone records and pertinent photographs. It was apparent to Mr. McCormack that the E-4 alleged victim was attempting to manipulate the military justice system in an apparent effort to evade adverse action for her role in the fraternization relationship with our client. After extensive back and forth negotiations, we secured a revised plea agreement at a Special Court-Martial that required a Guilty plea only to the fraternization charge, with a sentencing provision of NO confinement, and reduction to E-7, with the court being able to further reduce to E-6. In addition, his waiver of administrative separation board was conditioned upon him receiving a General (Under Honorable Conditions) discharge.
At his trial with Greg McCormack as his civilian counsel, the Military Judge limited the reduction to E-7, although he was entitled to reduce to E-6. Immediately after trial, the Military Judge strongly recommend that the convening authority suspend the reduction to E-7, so as to allow our client to transfer to the Feet Reserve and retire as an E-8.