Defense in Military “National Security” Cases and Cases Involving Classified Information

Our civilian court-martial defense lawyers have defended many cases involving national security issues and/or cases involving classified information.

These cases can be very complicated, as they require the appropriate security clearances, application of MRE 505 (government classified information privilege), filing motions for access to the classified information, dealing with security managers and offices, dealing with the “owners” of the classified information (which can be other governmental agencies), preparing for trial in a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), ensuring all court members and personnel have the requisite security clearance (lawyers, judges, bailiff, court reporter, court members), using equipment that is cleared to deal with the classified information, and entering into closed/classified court sessions that do not allow spectators and the court room is treated as a SCIF.

Not only can these cases be very complicated, they are often very serious and can have devastating legal, professional, personal and family consequences for the accused military member. An experienced and aggressive defense attorney is absolutely vital in these military cases.

Some of the military court-martial cases defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens that have involved national security issues and/or classified information have included:

  • A court-martial involving elite Special Operations units that cannot be named. This case involved battling the government (MRE 505) with classified filings in closed motion hearings to obtain the classified information, dealing with security managers and offices, dealing with other government agencies that cannot be named who “owned” some of the classified information, preparing for trial in a SCIF after successfully compelling the classified information, defending a trial that had open sessions and closed/classified sessions and having to seamlessly transition from speaking freely about classified information in the closed SCIF trial sessions to speaking in careful terms that protected the identities of classified military units, government agencies, witnesses, and events. Ultimately, the client, who was facing a maximum punishment of more than five decades in prison if convicted, was acquitted of all charges.
  • A court-martial involving classified nuclear security information and government agencies, witnesses and technology that cannot be named. This case involved battling the government (MRE 505) over what information could be disclosed or used in the case, dealing with security managers and offices, dealing with other government agencies that cannot be named who “owned” some of the classified information, and dealing with government agencies, witnesses and information that the government refused to disclose, despite their centrality to the case. Ultimately, after the Article 32 hearing, the court-martial case was dropped, in favor of administrative action.
  • A court-martial involving classified Rules of Engagement (ROE) for operations in the Middle East. This case involved battling the government (MRE 505) over what information could be disclosed or used in the case, dealing with security managers and offices, and closing a portion of the trial. Ultimately, the client, who was facing life in prison if convicted, was acquitted of all charges.
  • A court-martial involving classified stealth assets and technology. This case involved battling the government (MRE 505) over what information could be disclosed or used in the case, dealing with security managers and offices, and arriving at a compromise that protected the classified information and avoided closed/classified trial sessions. Ultimately, the client, who was facing life in prison if convicted, was acquitted of all charges.

Richard V. Stevens and Frank J. Spinner are civilian criminal defense attorneys and former military JAG lawyers who exclusively practice military law and defend military members stationed around the world who are facing military trials, discipline and investigations.

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If you’re facing military allegations, the defense of which may require disclosure of national security issues and/or classified information, don’t hesitate to seek the legal help you’re going to need. For a free initial case consultation, please contact us.

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“Your client has no idea how lucky he was to have hired you.”

- Former Senior Military JAG Attorney

“He simply commanded the courtroom, prepared to the teeth, and, most importantly, retained his personal and professional manner that proved so impressive in his advocacy success.”

- Former Senior Military Judge

“His advocacy, compassion, intellect, and demeanor are unsurpassed.”

- Former Military Staff Judge Advocate and Trial Judge

“That was the best closing argument I have ever seen; by a civilian or military attorney.”

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