In this era of military downsizing, a reprimand for an officer or senior enlisted service member can be a career killer. For officers, a reprimand in any branch can lead to promotion problems and grade review boards at retirement. For an enlisted member, a reprimand can create retention issues.
Each of the branches has very different reprimand appeals procedures. So it's important to work with an attorney with knowledge of the process.
- Army Regulation 600-37 - Unfavorable Information
- Navy and Marine Corps JAGINST 5800.7F - See paragraph 0105
- AFI 36-2907 - Unfavorable Information File
This discussion is about non punitive letters of reprimand. In all branches of service, the authority to issue a reprimand resides with the immediate commander, school commandant, or any general officer or officer with general court-martial convening authority. It should be noted that the Navy and Marine Corps are not as liberal as the other branches in imposing non punitive letters of caution. The Navy and Marine Corps also have different filing standards - they are usually locally filed as a matter of practice.
After a commander decides to impose a reprimand, each branch of a service has a referral process in which the member is afforded the right to respond to the reprimand. It is important to consult with counsel at this stage. Often, inexperienced military counsel advise members to accept responsibility for any alleged misconduct - regardless of whether they are in fact responsible for the allegations. "Falling on your sword" is not always the best course of action. It is prudent to at least discuss the consequences. If you are not guilty of alleged misconduct and you accept responsibility, the appeal will become more difficult.
The first stage in a reprimand appeal is to request the immediate commander to consider either not imposing a reprimand or filing the reprimand locally. Lawyers can assist in analyzing the facts, law, regulations, and drafting persuasive memorandum to facilitate local filings or better.
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Daniel Conway Partner
For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Conway has become a nationally recognized resource on military justice. Daniel Conway is a former Marine staff sergeant and captain. He is a proud graduate of the University of Texas at San Antonio and University of New Hampshire School of Law. Mr. Conway is recently a former President of the New Hampshire Bar Association Military Law Section and a current member of the DC Bar. Mr. Conway has also written a book on Military Crimes and Defenses that is near publication with a major ...Read More
Brian Pristera Attorney
A Richmond, Virginia native, Mr. Pristera graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After spending some time as a DuPont engineer, specifically working on Kevlar manufacturing and ballistics applications, Mr. Pristera attended law school at the University of New Hampshire. On July 4, 2010, Mr. Pristera was commissioned in the U.S. Army in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. Mr. Pristera spent almost six years on active duty. He spent just over three of those years in criminal defense, ...Read More
Joseph Galli Attorney
Originally from Portland, Maine, Mr. Galli attended Elmira College in New York on a four-year Army ROTC Scholarship. At Elmira, he double majored in Business Administration and Public Affairs. Mr. Galli graduated from Elmira College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science degree and was Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. Mr. Galli began his study of the law in 2009 at the University of New Hampshire School of Law. There, he focused on litigation and honed his advocacy skills as a member of the Advanced Trial ...Read More
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