Practice Areas

The experienced military trial lawyers at Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC are former JAG attorneys. Contact our firm if you are facing any of the following issues:

The areas noted below are the trickiest and most serious areas of court-martial law, the ones most aggressively pursued by investigators and prosecutors.

Sexual assault issues are extremely “high visibility” in the military right now.  The military will pick up cases that were dropped by civilian law enforcement agencies. Family advocacy investigations that concluded as unfounded can be – and often are – sent to a court-martial. The military will take just about any allegation of sexual misconduct to court, even if it’s just one person’s word against another, and even if investigators and prosecutors think the allegation is bogus.

Military child pornography cases can be extremely complex. Unfortunately, the default position of many commanders, investigators, and prosecutors – and an alarming number of defense attorneys — is that if any contraband exists on the accused’s computer or device, he put it there on purpose. Worse, it often seems as if everyone assumes, before the accused has had even the slightest chance to examine the evidence, that he is a pedophile. Child pornography cases arise from evidence taken from the internet, computers, and other forms of electronic media such as phones, tablets, external drives and devices, and game systems. The prosecution will always get the free assistance of a computer expert, in addition to the team of special agents who did the investigation. In most cases, the only allies the defendant has are the defense attorneys and the defense’s own expert in media forensics. Defense attorneys and their expert need to consider a wide range of issues that can help get an acquittal in a child pornography court martial.

Recently, we have seen an increasing number of cases involving BAH fraud and other allegations of entitlement and reimbursement fraud. Investigators will have all of the paperwork – including everything submitted electronically – related to the payments. The government will get phone records, bank records, and emails. Fraud cases can be complicated – which can be an opportunity for the defense. The regulations are complex and the accounting can be difficult. These cases turn on the issue of whether the money was received, taken, or kept intentionally. If the defendant made a mistake, that can be a defense. Unfortunately, the target of a fraud investigation doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt.

Historically, only a small percentage of trials by court martial have involved United States military members that were charged with murder. This has changed recently with a dramatic increase in the numbers of US military members facing court martial on charges of premeditated murder, attempted murder, aggravated assault, and other violent crimes committed against noncombatant citizens or fellow service members during the conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Military defendants can face the death penalty, even for things that might have occurred in the fog of war.

Whenever a US military member is facing a murder charge at court-martial, there will inevitably be intense media pressure, pressure from the family of the victim, and pressure from the military command itself. In addition to those obstacles, a death penalty case can last more than a year. An accusation of violent crime often leads to a brutally exhausting and difficult time for everyone involved. The number of these cases is comparatively small, but unlike other cases these can truly be a matter of life and death.

You need a team on your side that understands military law, but is no longer part of it. Reach out to Gagne, Scherer & Associates, LLC today.