Monday, January 16, 2012

NAVY JAG Disciplines Civilian Defense Lawyer

A Hawaiian lawyer (civilian) with 41 years of legal experience lost his own case against the NAVY this month.

In 2006, the civilian attorney based in Honolulu represented AM1 Stewart Toles, II in a Navy general court-martial for violation of the "video voyeurism" statute. Toles was charged with secretly videotaping women on base and pleaded guilty. Toles was again represented by the civilian lawyer on appeal. In July 2006, Toles was found guilty of several offenses and sentenced to a bad conduct discharge and five years' confinement.

The attorney again represented Toles during the automatic appeal of his court-martial conviction, which was upheld on October 30, 2007, by the United States Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals. Navy officials then criticized the lawyer's defense tactics as "unsavory" and launched an inquiry into his professional conduct, according to his 2010 legal complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The civilian lawyer lost his lawsuit in Washington federal court (challenging the authority of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy to discipline him) when U.S. District Senior Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. ruled that the Navy JAG office does have the power to discipline non-JAG attorneys.

The ruling sets an important legal precedent for the Navy at a crucial time in its history. The ruling should help discourage the coming lawsuits by overzealous (or greedy) civilian lawyers. The legal pendulum swung just in time to upset the diversity crowd's money wagon.

Submarines are always silent and strange.



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