Military Lawyer in Japan
One of the most frequent questions we are asked is where we defend military members. On the top of every webpage, it says we are “Worldwide”, and it is 100% true. In fact, more than 50% of our cases are for members OCONUS. Lately, Japan has been our most frequent destination.
The other question we are asked constantly is what types of cases we defend. Again, the answer is similar to the above – if it’s an allegation under the UCMJ, odds are we have the experience necessary to provide the best defense for you. In today’s military justice environment, sexual assault allegations account for the majority of our case load, but in the past three months we have represented folks facing over a dozen different unique UCMJ articles.
Japan Military Lawyer
I am in Japan as I write this representing a sailor facing sexual assault charges. My number one priority for every client is to make sure I do everything I can to provide the absolute best defense possible. Often, one of the most overlooked responsibilities of a defense attorney is making sure you are meeting your client’s needs and expectations. I make several promises to anyone calling from OCONUS:
- Your location overseas does NOT directly impact attorney fees
- You can call or ask us to call you when its convenient for you
- You’ll never be charged for anything a typical CONUS client would not pay for (i.e. phone calls, fancy travel arrangements, per diem)
- I will travel as early as necessary to make sure we have plenty of time together – face to face
On this trip to Japan, I arranged travel to arrive in country at 0500 so I would have an entire extra day to work for my client. This allowed the client and me valuable time to go over the facts and details of his case that many other attorneys would jeopardize because of the inconvenience to their schedule. We can talk on the phone for days, but nothing beats face-to-face sit-downs.
I see more and more often that even military defense counsel overseas do not provide the type of face time you deserve. More often than not, your military defense counsel is coming from off installation, many times even from a different country. In the case that has me in Japan right now, I have been on installation prepping the case for two full days more than the military defense counsel. In those two days, the military defense counsel was in another country one day and had another hearing at another installation in Japan the other. It’s yet another sign of how overworked military defense counsel really are.
Experienced Lawyer in Japan
I have been to 56 military installations worldwide. That’s important to you for one reason — you need a lawyer that isn’t more hassle than it’s worth! When I arrive to lodging in England, the receptionist knows my name. Your lawyer should make life easier, not more difficult. You shouldn’t need to be responsible for any of your lawyer’s logistics.
Here’s the other advantage to a lawyer that is experienced in representing members overseas — I know many of the military communities as well as the members stationed there. The majority of cases I see involve the local community in some way or another. Having a lawyer that knows, for example, what bars folks in Yokota, Okinawa, Yokosuka, or even Atsugi get themselves in trouble at will pay dividends in the end, especially when even the prosecutors and investigators haven’t spent much time at that installation. How the military deals with local prosecutors, the local opinions of Americans, and the ongoing restrictions on liberties in Japan are all other examples of how experience pays off.
Success Case in Japan
The past success of a lawyer should not be an indication of whether you will win your case. What you want to learn is how your lawyer’s experience has taught him or her how to deal with the unique circumstances of your case. The following situation demonstrates how my tenacity and allegiance to my client earned him a total withdrawal of all charges without trial or nonjudicial punishment.
Just several weeks ago, I had a case in Okinawa dismissed a few weeks before trial. Before being hired on this case, the client had been thrown in confinement for months, subjected to outrageous delays, repeatedly abused and harassed by JAGs and his chain of command, and denied certain Constitutional rights. Before getting hired, my client hadn’t heard from his two military lawyers for almost two months. After getting hired, we spoke almost every day. I filed motions with the military judge and filed complaints with command. Just as importantly, I did this for a client in Japan without skipping a beat. Often we spoke while I would have otherwise been asleep to accommodate his needs, I worked most Sundays because it was Monday in Japan, and I incurred the costs of all it, not the client.
In the end, there’s no telling exactly what happened behind the doors with the convening authority, but the case was completely dismissed and withdrawn without any subsequent disciplinary action. It seems obvious that the Government became acutely aware how much more difficult I was going to make things, and that I would pull no punches attacking the entire chain of command for their potentially illegal and unethical treatment of my client. In this case, the military defense lawyers proved they had courage to fight command on several instances, but in a case in which the military defense lawyers were going to have to challenge other JAGs and commanders who they have to deal with on a daily basis, no fair person would be able to honestly say there isn’t at least the appearance/fear they wouldn’t be able to bring the same fight as an outsider like myself.
The other take-away from this example is the cost savings to my client. You want a lawyer who is dedicated to work for you tirelessly before they arrive in-person. Why? As you look for lawyers, you’ll learn that the closer you are to trial, and the more they have to travel, the more money it will cost you! For this client, taking the steps we did to kill the case well before trial saved the client over $10,000. I proved in that case what too many other lawyers never will… that my clients’ interests ALWAYS trump my own!
This is just one example of a recent total success. Cases are always different, and one success does not guarantee any future success. However, the tenacity and dedication that I showed in this case should be viewed as a guarantee I will bring every ounce of the appropriate effort and fight to your case.
Your Rights to Counsel Overseas
It is so utterly critical that every military member knows they have a right to civilian representation no matter where they are in the world. When I say call anytime, I mean it. If you’re unable to call me in the states, send me your number and a time to call and we’ll follow through at your convenience. Not only is our first consultation free, I will pay for the expense of making sure we talk for the time needed to assess your case and make sure you get all of your questions answered before the end of our conversation. We make it our priority to be there for our clients at their convenience. Whether it’s the first conversation or after we’ve been working together for awhile, we will always be there for you to call whenever you need.