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Military Law, Complex Trial Defense Litigation, Court-Martial Trial Defense, Media Cases and Consultation, Military Adverse Administrative Actions
Beyond “conventional” military justice cases, also experienced with cases arising out of combat, alleged “war crimes,” cases involving elite special operations assets and missions, special forces assets, and cases involving classified information and national security issues, closed trial sessions and government assertions of privilege in accordance with Military Rules of Evidence (M.R.E.) 505.
Defense of special military cases, as described above, have included the successful defense of an Army officer accused of soliciting the murder of al-Qaeda terrorist insurgents in the “Triangle of Death” in Iraq in 2005. In 2008, successfully defended an Army small kill team (S.K.T.) leader accused of murdering an al-Qaeda terrorist insurgent in Iraq after a firefight. In 2009, successfully defended an Air Force officer accused of intentionally violating nuclear security protocols. In 2011, successfully defended elite special operations NCO accused of steroid possession and use in theater.
Classified information addressed in past cases has included stealth technology, nuclear security, rules of engagement for use of deadly force against enemy forces in Middle East combat, and elite special operations missions to kill or capture high value targets (HVTs) in Iraq, Afghanistan and surrounding areas.
Past cases and/or clients have appeared in, or been covered by, regional, national and international print and television news media. This includes the Associated Press, CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, Sean Hannity, Time Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, The Middle East Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Denver Post, San Antonio Express News, USA Today, Military Times, Stars & Stripes, and a nonfiction book.
Served as military legal expert consultant for media outlets, including the Associated Press.
Invited speaker at civilian and military defense attorney professional conferences. Presentation topics have included defending high profile/media cases, defending complex criminal trials, utilizing and working with expert consultants and expert witnesses, attacking police interrogation tactics and false confessions, preparing trial strategy and defense case file, defending against military rape and sex offense allegations and military defense counsel working with civilian defense counsel.
Military Defense Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens, P.C., Worldwide Representation Left successful civil litigation practice at respected North Carolina law firm to establish own military defense law practice in 2003. Returned to true calling of exclusively defending military members facing courts-martial and all types of military adverse actions. Years of trial experience as a military prosecutor and military defense attorney, as well as state and federal trial attorney. Represents and defends members of all military branches worldwide in all manner of military adverse actions including courts-martial, post-trial clemency, post-trial appeals, administrative discharges/separations, MEB/PEB, FEB, promotion denials, performance report appeals, security clearance issues, correction of military records (BCMR), IG complaints, administrative punishments and other military complaints, investigations and actions.
Extensive experience and success in defending clients in complex military criminal trials involving the most serious offenses and media exposure, to include murder, rape, sexual assault, drug offenses, computer crimes, larceny, fraud, conduct unbecoming, military academy offenses, “war crimes” and offenses within combat zones, senior officer cases and all types of the most serious criminal charges and military offenses. Has defended military clients stationed around the globe; includes across the United States (CONUS), Hawaii, Japan, Korea, Turkey, Germany, Europe, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan – and includes clients engaged in combat operations in the Middle East.
Invited speaker on military trial defense issues at numerous military defense counsel conferences since 1997; includes Area Defense Counsel and Circuit Defense conferences 1997-present. Topics include defending high profile/media cases, defending complex trials, working with experts, military interrogation tactics and false confessions, preparing trial strategy and case file, defending against military sex offense allegations and working with civilian defense counsel. Military defense law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of our nation’s military members and to aggressively defending them against the adverse actions they face. Practice founded on pledge to provide proven trial skills, military knowledge, experienced representation and straightforward advice to members of all military branches stationed around the world.
Yates, McLamb & Weyher, L.L.P., Raleigh, North Carolina
Senior litigation associate in medical malpractice division of this insurance defense law firm. Trial and appellate practice before all North Carolina State and Federal Courts. Large majority of civil defense practice focused on medical malpractice defense, while also engaging in some general liability tort defense. Lawsuits primarily involved multimillion-dollar medical claims resulting in complex, expert intensive litigation of medical issues. Representative issues included wrongful death, catastrophic birth injury, surgical complications and medical management of serious disease processes. Responsible for all aspects of cases through mediation, trial and appeal. Nearly 100 cases defended, including co-counsel in $5.5 million wrongful death case; awarded defense jury verdict. Briefed, argued and won summary judgment as lead counsel in $3 million personal injury case. Also briefed and won summary judgment in three medical malpractice cases in which plaintiffs sought awards in the hundreds of thousands. Successfully briefed one of these cases through the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Briefed, argued and won dismissal of another serious medical malpractice case after exposing discovery fraud. Obtained defense verdicts in two personal injury trials and one criminal assault trial as sole trial attorney. Despite lack of military law division at firm, was sought out to defend Air Force client in high profile rape and attempted murder case that was ultimately dropped, clearing client. Continued accepting invitations to speak, and provide training, at military defense attorney conferences.
United States Air Force, Trial Judiciary, Central Circuit, Randolph Air Force Base, TX
Military Criminal Trial Experience: Defended clients in military court-martial trials and administrative hearings. Premier litigation position in Air Force Trial Judiciary. One of only 24 Circuit Defense Counsel worldwide, acted as lead counsel on all cases. Responsible for full case management, from researching, writing, and arguing pretrial motions, to all phases of litigated trial and litigated sentencing proceedings through post-trial clemency. Brought in for the most complex and high profile cases. Numerous cases with local, regional and national print, radio and television media coverage, to include inquiry by Dateline NBC and interview with The Wall Street Journal. Defended allegations including premeditated murder, manslaughter, rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, use/possession/distribution of illegal drugs, and military-specific crimes. Experience focused in expert intensive litigation, included direct and cross examinations of experts in fields such as handwriting analysis, forensic pathology, emergency medicine and trauma, forensic pediatrics, pediatric neurology, forensic psychology, forensic analytical toxicology, forensic child interviewing and forensic crime scene analysis. Compiled extremely impressive record of numerous full and partial acquittals in major criminal military trials. Record of successful outcomes established reputation throughout service. Repeatedly requested by name to represent clients throughout Air Force. Nominated for Kuhfeld Award as top company grade attorney in Air Force Legal Services Agency for 2001. In addition to defending criminal and disciplinary actions, also represented physicians in medical malpractice, de-credentialing hearings. Total Air Force experience included more than 80 trials and administrative proceedings. Hundreds of clients represented in other disciplinary actions.
Supervisory Experience: In addition to duties as lead trial defense counsel, responsible to supervise, train, and advise 24 base-level Area Defense Counsel (criminal defense lawyers) and their 21 defense paralegals at 26 Air Force bases in 11 different states in the Central Judicial Circuit.
Specialized Consultation & Teaching: Delivered presentations in trial techniques and case management to defense attorneys around the Air Force. First Air Force defense counsel to successfully argue for admission of false confession/interrogation expert trial testimony despite previous legal precedent to the contrary. As military legal expert in this area, prepared and delivered presentations on this issue to all 140 defense counsel in the Air Force. Provided same presentation for use by all Army, Navy & Marine Corps defense counsel. Asked by civilian expert social-psychologist/criminologist at University of California to co-author textbook in this area. Requested by defense counsel in sister services to consult in numerous high profile trials, resulting in multiple acquittals, one of which appeared on CNN.
United State Air Force, Trial Judiciary, Eastern Circuit, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
Military Criminal Trial and Management Experience: Military criminal defense attorney designated to represent a population of more than 6,000 Air Force personnel assigned to two Air Force installations. Responsibilities included military criminal trials and administrative hearings, as well as disciplinary actions and advice. As sole defense counsel assigned to Maxwell AFB and Gunter Annex, AL, managed office budget and supervised one defense paralegal. Due to extensive military trial experience, used as circuit defense counsel, traveling to bases throughout Eastern Judicial Circuit as lead military trial defense counsel.
United States Air Force, 42d Air Base Wing, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL
Military Criminal Justice: Practiced as one of six base prosecutors trying Air Force members accused of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Areas of pretrial practice included investigation, research, and drafting of charges. Handled all phases of trial, from preliminary hearing through trial and sentencing proceedings. Also appointed as Special Assistant United States Attorney prosecuting civilians in Alabama Federal Magistrate’s Court alleged to have committed crimes on Maxwell Air Force Base.
Chief of Environmental Law: Legal advisor for civil engineers responsible for base compliance with state and federal environmental codes. Supervised and provided legal guidance for environmental compliance inspections, clean up and reclamation projects. Tackled issues such as underground storage tanks, clean up of underground waste fuel plumes, asbestos removal and construction projects complying with National Historic Preservation Act.
Chief of Acquisitions Law: Legal advisor for base contracting personnel. Provided legal counsel in all phases of government contracting process, from bid solicitation, through contract award and performance evaluation. Wrote successful 32 page legal brief in $1.6 million laptop computer contract protest, winning complex jurisdictional challenge. Prepared successful defense in $2 million services contract protest that kept base dining facilities open.
USAF AD: 1995-2001 (military attorney)
USAF IRR: 2001-2008 (civilian attorney)
J.D., School of Law, 1995
American Jurisprudence Award, Conflicts of Law
American Jurisprudence Award, Ethics in Criminal Practice
Judge Heriot Clarkson Prize, Ethics of the Legal Profession
B.A., Political Science, 1992
Phi Beta Kappa, National Merit Honorary Society
Pi Sigma Alpha, National Political Science Honorary Society
Graduated with Distinction
Dean’s List, All Semesters
Journalism & Political Science Major, 1988-1990
Dean’s List, All Semesters
Semester Academic Honors, All Semesters
United States Supreme Court Bar N.C. Federal District Court, Western District Bar
National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers State Bar of North Carolina (Inactive)
North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys State Bar of Washington D.C. (Active)
Defense Research Institute North Carolina Bar Association
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Wake County Bar Association
Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals Phi Beta Kappa
United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit Bar Pi Sigma Alpha
N.C. Federal District Court, Eastern District Bar
REFERENCES PROVIDED ON REQUEST