Who are the Best Military Defense Lawyers?

The best court-martial defense lawyers always care about the client, regardless of his or her guilt or innocence and do everything they can to protect their client’s constitutional rights. Even when things don’t go right, the best court-martial and criminal defense attorneys are always seen fighting for their clients whether it’s an AWOL, a rape allegation or a premeditated murder investigation. The best court-martial defense attorneys do not care if their client is guilty, of anything on the charge sheet. They care about winning. About providing the best possible zealous and legal defense of their clients.

The best court-martial and criminal defense attorneys know the players in the military court-martial system. They know who the prosecutors are, who the military judge is, who the commanders are, who the CID, NCIS or OSI agents are, and what makes them tick. They know what their weak points are and what their strong points are and how to adjust for them. Everything done by the best court-martial defense attorneys is aimed at developing an advantage for their clients.

The best court-martial defense attorneys do not accept what is reported by the military police, civilian police, CID, NCIS, OSI, the FBI or any other prosecution investigators. They know better. The best defense attorneys conduct their own investigations because they know the reports of law enforcement are biased, usually incorrect and aimed solely at getting convictions, regardless of guilt or innocence. The best court-martial defense attorneys demand that the prosecutor turn over all their supposed evidence (called “discovery”), they talk to witnesses, collect records, go to the scene of the alleged crime, find relevant experts, retrieve relevant electronic and digital evidence, review relevant case law and investigate the backgrounds of alleged victims.

The best court-martial defense attorneys prioritize having a good relationship and rapport with their client. They know that their best source of information about the case is the client. They regularly talk to the client and remind him or her to exercise their right to remain silent, insisting they not talk to anyone about the allegations. No matter how busy, the best court-martial defense attorneys will make the time to talk to their clients and keep them informed on the process of their case.

Real Court Martial Cases

Philip Cave and Nathan Freeburg have defended sexual assault, murder, and national security cases that have been seen on: CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post, McClatchy, Reuters, The Army Times, The Marine Corps Times, The Navy Times, The Air Force Times and hundreds more media outlets.

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Mr. Philip Cave

Over Sixty Years of Combined Real Trial Experience

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Why You Need An Experienced Civilian Court Martial Lawyer

You need a top-notch civilian defense lawyer because the entire military justice system has been built not to give you a fair trial, but to get a conviction to please the command and politicians that fund the military and promote the senior officers. The many many military prosecutors have nearly unlimited amounts of money, investigators and paralegals, all working with one goal: to convict you and deliver the highest possible sentence. They will pressure you on every front to plead guilty, even though you are innocent of the charges. (Unfortunately, sometimes your assigned military defense lawyer is part of this pressure.) Occasionally, as a last resort, a plea deal of some sort is in your best interest; but only after an aggressive and accomplished lawyer has developed the leverage over the prosecution to get you the best deal possible. More often, you should simply fight tenaciously for your freedom. You need a lawyer who will do this every step of the way.

Yes, if charges are actually preferred against you, you will be assigned a “free” military defense lawyer. Sometimes you will get lucky and be assigned a good one. But this is luck of the draw. The reality is that the military does not have “career” defense lawyers. They come from the prosecution, serve a temporary (usually two year) assignment as a defense counsel and then they return to the side of the prosecution. Even though most of them will try to zealously defend you, as they are ethically obligated to do, they are still human. Their promotions, future assignments and even their retirements are controlled by the supervisors of the prosecutors against you. In one recent situation, even a military judge ended up being forced to retire at a lower rank because his courtroom actions offended a general. So long as your military defense lawyers ultimately work for the same general or flag officers as the prosecution, they have to fear the career ramifications of defending you zealously.

Also, the various military services have hired numerous experienced civilian prosecutors to train the military prosecutors and even directly prepare the cases against you, working hand in glove with the military prosecutors, the criminal investigators and your command. Although some of the military services have hired a couple experienced attorneys to train military defense counsel, they are greatly outnumbered by those hired to help the prosecution.  All of the military services have large budgets dedicated to training criminal investigators not to find the truth, but to build cases against you. In fact they are expressly trained to not investigate your accuser, no matter how implausible her or his story may be.

Your Military Defense Lawyer Might Be Conflicted

On December 6, 2023, the Secretary of the Army, Ms. Christine Wormuth, fired Brigadier General (BG) Warren Wells, the Army’s chief prosecutor and head of the Office of the Special Trial Counsel (OSTC),  for an email he had sent ten years prior while in a defense counsel role.  This firing demonstrates that no military defense counsel can be certain that doing their job and defending you will not come back to haunt them down the road.  It will always be in the back of their minds.

In 2013, Warren Wells was a Lieutenant Colonel and a Regional Defense Counsel supervising the Senior Defender Counsel at several Army bases and their subordinate military defense counsel.  He sent an email to his Senior Defense Counsel on various defense matters that included a paragraph commenting on the pressure put on the Army by Congress and the media to send sexual assault cases to trial and then stated that they as defense counsel were the last line of defense for the innocent.  Ten years later, when Ms. Wormuth read the email, she found this sentiment so outrageous that she fired BG Wells within hours!  

Today, every military defense counsel knows (especially in the Army) that something they do or say in your defense can be held against them in the years to come when they are up for promotion or in a different position as a JAG.  The military branches try to have independent defense counsel while they are in defense counsel positions, but as the BG Wells story illustrates: nothing protects them when they are no longer in a defense counsel position.  Your military defense counsel will hopefully do their best to represent you anyway; but he or she is not conflict free no matter how hard they try.  

As civilian defense counsel, we at Cave & Freeburg, LLP, are not concerned about our zealous, aggressive defense of you coming back to hurt our careers.  We report to no one other than the law.

Military Special Prosecutor’s Offices (Office of Special Trial Counsel: OSTC)

As of December 2023, most courts-martial will be convened (decided upon and charged) and prosecuted by specially trained prosecutors outside of the chain of command.  These special prosecutors have one and only one mission: to get enough convictions to keep Congress happy.  The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard are mobilizing experienced reservists, recruiting experienced lawyers to active duty and providing all sorts of incentives to experienced JAGs (such as near-automatic promotions) in pursuit of one goal: to convict you.  

Perversely, all of the military services are picking the talented military defense lawyers and choosing them to become special prosecutors!  Yes, the special prosecutor doing everything they can to take away the rest of your life based on a false allegation could have been the military lawyer defending you instead. 

All of the special trial counsel in each service are supervised by a general or flag officer completely unaccountable to the chain of command and reporting directly to the Secretary for that service.  In presentations at the DAC-IPAD (a special committee studying the UCMJ) the Navy bragged that their special prosecutors will have an average of six years more experience than the prosecutors they had before.  Likewise, the Army bragged that they picked more than thirty of their most experienced lawyers just to plan how their special prosecution teams will be set up, including the Army’s chief judges!  The Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard all have made similar plans.  This stacking the deck is what you are now up against if you are facing a court-martial.  We are here to fight each and every one of these special prosecutors for you, day in and day out.

Your Court Martial will Not Be Fair, You Need a Defense Lawyer Who Will Even the Fight

Why Should You Contact Cave & Freeburg, LLP?

Cave & Freeburg, LLP aggressively defends service members in the Air Force, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard worldwide and has been involved in some of the most notable American courts-martial and military cases. Call 800-401-1583 or 202-931-8509 or use the message form to speak confidentially with an experienced attorney.

We fight for you in military trials throughout the United States, Europe, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. We can be hired at any time in the process, even when you are “only” under investigation. (The advice of an experienced defense lawyer is especially critical when you are under investigation.) We have experience with ending investigations by military law enforcement agencies such NCIS, CID and OSI and avoiding the allegations against you even going to a criminal trial.

For every type of prosecution charge and tactic, we have a “strike package” developed and designed to crush the prosecution at their own game. In the Air Force, a “strike package” is a combination of air to air and air to surface assets, designed to deal with all possible enemy threats at a target. Before every case, we draw upon our experience and knowledge of the prosecution and their playbooks to attack them with a complete strike package for everything they might try in their attempts to convict you at all costs. In the courtroom, the best defense is almost always a good offense.

Warning! You Cannot Trust That Your Personal Information and Communications With a Military-Provided Lawyer Are Safe

This is a reason why every accused or investigated service member must seriously consider getting a civilian defense lawyer. Your privileged communications with an uniformed military lawyers are not safe. It’s not that most uniformed military defense lawyers aren’t trying to protect your confidences (which are supposed to be protected by the Constitution), it’s that they can’t. All communications on government systems and networks are subject to monitoring (this is the reason why encrypted sites — such as this one — often show up with certificate errors on military computers; they are reading the internet traffic and turning off the encryption on traffic to the site) and the Department of Defense is now putting in place a system that monitors all emails and internet traffic on government computers for certain keywords. In addition, the government routinely searches emails as part of various investigations and even FOIA Requests. They supposedly have DoD employees looking at the emails to screen out attorney-client privileged information but at that point your confidentiality has already been violated. In contrast, federal public defenders use a system that is entirely separate from the Department of Justice and the rest of the federal government.  The military refuses to put in place this simple protection of your Constitutional rights.  Also, there have been multiple cases of military defense lawyers having communications with their clients intercepted by the government and in one case the Marine Corps even ordered NCIS to search on-base military defense lawyer offices for evidence they wanted!

Cave & Freeburg, LLP uses encryption on all client files and our systems are private, protected by law and are not located on any government installation. We do, however, strongly recommend that you do not contact us with a government computer or cellphone if at all possible.

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