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Recently, a senior field grade military officer defended by attorney Richard V. Stevens was retained in the military after winning a litigated board of inquiry (BOI) hearing – involuntary administrative discharge board.
In the military, involuntary administrative discharge board hearings are referred to as Boards of Inquiry (BOI), show cause boards, officer elimination actions, adsep boards, administrative separation actions, or administrative discharge boards. Regardless of the label, this is an attempt by the military to kick the member out of the military.
If a senior officer faces an involuntary administrative separation/discharge, and is discharged, they not only lose their military career, they often receive a negative discharge characterization – either a General Discharge or an Under Other Than Honorable Conditions Discharge. In addition, they lose their future retirement and military benefits.
Unlike a military court-martial trial, in which the government is required to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the burden of proof on the government in a BOI hearing is much lower; it is simply a preponderance of the evidence. That makes prevailing in a BOI much more challenging.
Similar to a military court-martial, however, a BOI hearing involves a litigated case, including calling and cross-examining witnesses, presenting evidence, making closing arguments, and the Board Members deliberating and announcing their decision.
In this particular case, acts of misconduct and prior discipline were alleged. After litigation of the case in the hearing, the three O-6 Board Panel Members returned a decision that the officer client should be retained in the military. Because of the nature of administrative board hearings, which are closed, no further specifics about this case can be discussed.
While this military case was successfully defended, it is important to understand that every case has different facts, and success in previous cases does not guarantee success in any particular future case. No military lawyer or civilian defense lawyer, including those who specialize in military law, can guarantee the outcome of any military trial or case.
For more information about the military justice system, particularly involuntary separation/discharge actions, please see our page at https://militaryadvocate.com/practice-areas/administrative-dischargeseparation/.
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