Answers to some common questions.
How would hiring you as my defense lawyer be beneficial for my military case?
A: No civilian defense attorney or military defense lawyer can guarantee you an outcome in your military case. The benefit of hiring experienced civilian defense attorneys like us is that we have years and years of military law experience beyond that of your appointed military defense counsel. When hired, we then become considerable “value-added” for your defense team, and our experience can benefit all phases of your court-martial case – spotting legal issues, filing motions, engaging in pretrial negotiations or case discussions with the prosecution and/or command, dealing with the media, preparing trial strategy, and performing in trial (including arguments, witness questioning, utilizing experts). Our extensive military law and criminal defense experience can, likewise, benefit you if you are seeking representation in a board hearing or disciplinary, administrative or personnel issue that doesn’t rise to the level of court-martial.
When considering hiring a civilian defense counsel for my military case, is it important for the civilian attorney to have military law experience?
A: In our opinion, this is an extremely important factor to consider. The military justice system is governed by their own laws, regulations, and procedural rules. Those laws and rules are constantly changing. The military also has a culture that is unique and, in many ways, very different than civilian society. These legal and cultural differences factor heavily into all aspects of defense strategy. We served in the military and only handle military cases – and we have done so for decades. As such, we have this crucial military law experience.
Are you “specialists” in defense of military rape or sexual assault allegations?
A: There is no legal certification for such an official legal “specialty” in military practice. We are criminal defense lawyers and we only handle military cases. We defend against all types of cases in the military justice system. Based on our experience and the political environment currently impacting the military justice system, we do regularly and very often defend against military rape and sexual assault allegations. It is the most prevalent type of case in the system right now, and has been for many years. Due to the number of these cases we have defended over the years – and defended successfully – many reviews about our services refer to us as specialists in defense of military rape and/or sexual assault cases. In that respect, we certainly fit the lay definition. We successfully defended military rape and sexual assault cases when the military justice system was impacted by the Air Force Academy “Rape Scandal” in 2003. We are again successfully defending military rape and sexual assault cases with the military justice system being impacted by the MTI Scandal in 2012, and the involvement and meddling of politicians in the military justice system since that time.
Do you represent military members in civilian cases or family law issues?
A: No. Our practice is limited to, and focused on, criminal defense in military cases. We do not represent military members in civilian cases or courts. We do not represent military members facing civilian family law issues (such as separation or divorce). Those are legal assistance issues, not criminal defense issues. We ONLY represent military members facing military cases – such as military disciplinary actions, military investigations, military discharges/separations, or military court-martial trials. That focus is one of the factors that leads to our considerable experience and successful case outcomes in military cases.
How do you compare to other civilian defense counsel?
A: There are younger, less experienced civilian defense counsel who handle military cases and who aggressively market themselves as the “premier” attorneys in the industry. Some of their websites refer to themselves as “the best.” Their self-promotion includes website claims of unrivaled case results and unmatched client testimonials. They belittle active duty military defense counsel. They seek media appearances to promote their “brand.” We, on the other hand, have been handling military cases for decades. Our experience, case results, and client satisfaction speak for themselves. Most of our cases are based on referrals and word of mouth about our performance. Our practice is built around serving our clients, not serving our self-image. We don’t need aggressive self-promotion or to belittle anyone. When we appear in the media, it’s an extension of our representation of a client, not to “get our names and faces out there.” The bottom line is this – do your research about attorneys, consult with them and gauge your comfort with them, and beware of any attorney who tries to impress you with how much they think of themselves or how little they think of others.
Do you work with my appointed and/or requested military defense attorney(s)?
A: Yes. If you hire any of us, you will not lose your right to an appointed military defense counsel. We will work with your appointed/requested military defense attorney as a “defense team.” As the civilian counsel, we will act as your lead defense lawyer, and your military lawyer(s) will assist us. As former active duty military defense attorneys ourselves, we have good relationships with active duty military defense counsel and work well with them. We also instruct at military defense counsel trainings. We have achieved successful results working with Army defense counsel, Navy defense counsel, Air Force defense counsel, Marine defense counsel and Coast Guard defense counsel.
Do you represent/defend military members in all service branches?
A: Yes. We have represented members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and Space Force stationed around the world.
Do you represent/defend military members regardless of where they are stationed?
A: Yes. We have represented military members stationed around the globe and will travel to any base inside or outside the continental United States. We have represented/defended military members in foreign countries, remote locations, and areas where combat operations were taking place.
Do you have experience with senior enlisted and senior officer cases?
A: Yes. We have worked on numerous senior enlisted and senior officer cases. We have represented military members with ranks ranging from E-1 through O-8. As an example, in 2018-2019, attorney Richard V. Stevens defended four senior colonels (O-6) in separate military rape and sexual assault cases – and none of those clients were convicted of rape/sexual assault. Attorney Stevens has also represented and defended multiple general officer clients.
Do you have experience dealing with media coverage of military cases?
A: Yes. Because we often handle cases involving the most serious accusations, including murder, sexual offenses, combat related offenses (“war crimes”) and senior officer cases, many of these cases have been covered by regional, national and international media. We don’t seek media exposure, but we handle it when the case calls for it. It is crucial not just to react to the media interest, but to have a thorough and strategic media plan from the outset. We also instruct at defense attorney conferences about how to defend cases involving media coverage. Some of the cases we have been involved in that have been covered by the media are described and accessible on our “Appearances” page.
Do you have experience handling complex trials involving numerous witnesses and experts?
A: Yes. We have handled countless cases, both military and civilian, that involved numerous different witnesses, issues and experts. For example, we have had potential witness lists that identify 100 or more possible witnesses. We have also defended cases in which many different experts were involved in the same case. Some of these trials have lasted for weeks at a time. Cases such as these require experience in large-scale trial strategy, effective use of experts and complete knowledge of all issues, evidence and information available in the case. Attorney Richard V. Stevens has handled multiple military cases alleging murder and/or manslaughter, cases arising out of combat operations, cases involving special operations, and cases involving classified information.
Do you have experience handling cases involving national security and classified information issues?
A: Yes. We have handled cases involving national security and classified information issues. These cases have included government assertions of privilege (M.R.E. 505), closed trial sessions, and case preparation in SCIFs.
With your busy trial schedule, do you still represent military members facing administrative actions or less serious disciplinary actions?
A: Yes. As long as our trial schedules will permit, we will handle administrative actions and less serious disciplinary actions, to include administrative discharges/separations, various board hearings, Article 15/NJP/Captain’s Mast, security clearance issues, MEB/PEB, FEB, AIB, medical de-credentialing boards, promotion denial or performance report appeals, corrections of military records (BCMR) and even military investigations (command or IG) and other lower-level military punishments and adverse actions.
Do attorneys Richard V. Stevens and Frank J. Spinner work together, and are they partners?
A: No. Mr. Stevens and Mr. Spinner each have completely separate and independent law practices, with no common clients, offices, or personnel. The attorneys share this website to facilitate contact with their respective military defense law practices, but they are not partners and they do not work together. Mr. Stevens also has attorney Michael J. Coco working with him in an “of counsel” capacity with the Law Offices of Richard V. Stevens.
*Your decision about who will represent you is extremely important. Call or write either of us and ask your own questions to ensure you make the most informed decision you can. Initial client consultations are provided free of charge.