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Latest Result:   DRUG & FIREARMS CASE DISMISSED for four individuals charged on sales and cultivation of methamphetamine and marijuana, and firearms.

Latest Result:   52 Counts Securities Fraud of over 2 million dollars involving 30 persons; defendant faced 30 years to life in prison and will serve 4 years in fire camp.

Latest Result:   Deferred judgement given for the first time in this judge's courtroom to both defendants for Drug Possession and Use with Firearm offenses.

Latest Result:   Tennen and Calabria, 2 top attorneys, Wins No Prison ! In a Hung Jury case involving an executive in a very complex and serious sex crimes trial.

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Gina Tennen in
Time Magazine
's 2013
"100 Most Influential People" edition in the section titled
"Leaders of Criminal Defense."

Criminal Lawyers in Time Magazine

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Focus: Serious Sex and Drug Cases, Fraud, and All Defense
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Donald J. Calabria
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Military Criminal Justice Defense

In the military, potential criminal charges include "usual" crimes, such as robbery, arson, drugs, assault, and something not found in the civilian world, "conduct" charges, such as desertion, failing to obey an order, hazarding a vessel, or conduct unbecoming of an officer, to name a few. Conduct-type criminal charges arise from certain acts committed by a member of the military that would not be a crime in the civilian world.

Military criminal charges, governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice, can arise when a member of military commits a wrongful act on or off the base, even if you are on leave, or, believe it or not, AWOL. Further, it is possible, although not very common, for a member of the military to commit an act off base and be prosecuted both by the military and the civilian courts.

A conviction in a military court can have disastrous and far-reaching consequences; a conviction by special court martial is a misdemeanor, while a conviction at general court martial is a felon. Whatever the conviction, it will undoubtedly have a significant adverse effect on your career.

Back to Military Crimes

The Investigation Stage

Frequently, the military investigation becomes known to the member before charges are preferred to the commanding officer. It can, and often does, take many months for the investigators to track down various witnesses and evidence, which, in a military environment, is affected by deployments and the scattering of needed information to all parts of the globe.

During the investigative phase, your service duties may or may not be affected. You may be in pre-trial confinement or restriction, but at the very least, you will likely be placed in "legal hold" during the entirety of the investigation. This legal hold status can prevent deployment, promotion, transfer, or release from active duty. During this critical time, there are steps that can be taken during the investigation that may have profound effect on the outcome of the case.

You should strongly consider hiring a civilian attorney, with substantial prior military court martial experience, immediately upon finding out you are under investigation. Your civilian attorney may have timely advice which, at that critical point in time, may be unavailable later.

If you are suspected of using drugs, your civilian attorney may suggest that you obtain a forensic hair follicle examination, a negative result would serve to counter supposed "eyewitness" testimony. Timing is critical - there may be both witnesses and evidence, to support the defense that can be lost with the passage of time. Don't let it happen to you.

The Article 32 Investigation

If charges are preferred you will be advised of the charges against you and you will be provided with a detailed military defense counsel. You also have the right to have absolute right to choose and retain your own civilian defense counsel.

The first significant stage of the process is the Article 32 investigation. At the Article 32 hearing, the military prosecution team will present evidence to an Investigating Officer. You also have the right to present witnesses and evidence, and to cross examine the prosecution's witnesses. This hearing is crucial to your defense and having an aggressive defense team up and ready could make the difference between having the charges dismissed, or being forced to proceed to trial.

After the hearing, the Investigating Officer will write a recommendation to the commanding officer. If the commanding officer decides to refer the charges against you to court martial, you will be heading down a slippery slope toward trial.

The Article 15, UCMJ Hearing - Non-Judicial Punishment

It is possible that your Commanding Officer may opt to conduct an Article 15 hearing rather than proceeding to a court martial. The Article 15 hearing is generally conducted through reports and written statements. You will have the opportunity to present your case through a written response.

The results of this type of hearing can be devastating to your military career and should be handled with the utmost care and consideration and with skilled lawyers. You should not try to represent yourself through such a procedure.

Court Martial

If you are going to be tried in the military, you will have a trial either before a judge or a panel of other military members. If you are an officer, your panel will consist of higher ranking officers. If you are an enlisted member, your panel will consist of officers, but you may request that at least one-third of the panel be enlisted members - all of whom would be of a higher rank than you.

If you are tried by a military judge sitting alone, the judge will determine guilt or lack thereof - if convicted, the judge will impose the sentence. If you are tried by a court martial consisting of members, the members will determine if you are guilty, and, if necessary, will impose sentence.

Special Court Martial

A Special Court Martial has specific limits; a conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of 12 months confinement, forfeitures of 2/3 of the base pay for up to one year, reduction to the lowest pay grade, and a Bad Conduct Discharge. The conviction is a misdemeanor and will be treated as such in the civilian world.

General Court Martial

A General Court Martial has specific limits. A conviction carries with it a maximum sentence of the death penalty, forfeitures of total pay, reduction to the lowest pay grade, and a Dishonorable Discharge. This conviction is a felony and will be treated as such in the civilian world.

Each potential charge at a Special or General Court Martial carries its own maximum sentence - which, if there are multiple charges, are added together to determine the maximum sentence at trial. If the maximum sentence determined by adding individual charges is less than the maximum sentence which could be adjudged by the court, then the maximum sentence is the lesser number.

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As a client, you can now draw on the combined talents and resources of a large law firm with one goal -- getting the best possible result for your case. We stand ready to defend you both inside and outside the courtroom.

Call us now at 855-LAW-PRO1 (855-529-7761) for a free consultation with one of our criminal attorneys. Early intervention is the key to our mutual success.

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