Representative Military Cases

Contested Cases: 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-7 charged with manipulating the supply system to obtain and steal diving gear.  Fully contest members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal.

(White) Navy 0-3 with 19 years 10 months active duty service charged with false official statements and larceny of nearly $70,000 in housing allowances and conduct unbecoming an officer.  Fully contested members' trial in main court-room at Naval Station San Diego in June 2009, resulting in full acquittal. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-5 charged with sexually molesting a young child in an on base swimming pool.  Fully contested members' trial, resulting in full acquittal.

(White) Marine Corps E-3 was first time mother.  Her newborn son bled to death during his first night home from the hospital.  The government charged Lance Corporal S with murder under a wanton disregard theory for failing to provide timely medical support.  The defense team conducted an aggressive two-week Article 32 Investigation effectively illustrating a number of problems with the government's case.  Following the Article 32, the government dismissed with the case.

(Meeks) Navy O-4 charged with multiple allegations of sexual harassment against multiple alleged victims.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps 0-4 spouse alleged rape and child abuse; the parties were also divorcing.  The Command preferred charges against and the case proceeded to an Article 32 Investigation.  After a heavily contested Article 32 hearing, the government agreed to dismiss all criminal charges and resolve the case administratively.

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-5 charges with rape of a female subordinate.  Fully contested members trial, resulting in a full acquittal. 

(White) In 2000, Marine Corps E-6 was preparing for a general court-martial with his active duty military lawyer. After the Article 32 investigation and prior to the trial, the Staff Judge Advocate (SJA) at MCAS Miramar, CA, reassigned the military lawyer within the Miramar office, severing the attorney-client relationship. E-6 then requested that then Lieutenant Colonel Bruce White USMC, the senior defense counsel at Camp Pendleton, defend him at his pending court-martial.  For the trial, the Commanding General placed very senior members on the panel (jury). The panel included mostly sitting 0-5 and 0-6 commanding officers and command Sergeants Major.  Bruce White filed motions attacking the severance of the attorney-client relationship and also for "court stacking." Despite White's vigorous arguments, Judge Folsom denied both motions. The very senior panel convicted E-6 and gave him a Bad Conduct Discharge (BCD).  At the time of trial, he had 16 years of stellar service, including service in combat.  In 2006, the Navy-Marine Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA) completely agreed with Bruce White's original severance motion.  The Court found that the Miramar SJA wrongfully severed the attorney-client relationship.  NMCCA fully reversed the court-martial conviction and remanded it for retrial at Miramar.  NMCCA did not need to address the court stacking issue, which also may have caused reversal. Defendant then returned to active duty and again requested that then Colonel Bruce White defend him.  The request was granted, and defendant and Colonel White began preparing for the retrial.  In 2007, the government opted to dismiss the court-martial and settled the case administratively. By this time, client had 22 years of service and was able to retire with benefits.  The case set important published precedent on the sanctity of the attorney-client relationship in the military. See U.S. v. SSgt D, 65 M.J. 562 (NMCCA 2006).

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-3 charged with attempted rape of fellow female Marine.  Caught in a wall locker in the alleged victim’s room.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps E-5 charge with arson.  After a large command urinalysis, someone attempted to burn down the command headquarters where the urine was stored overnight. Duty Marines were sleeping in the building the night the fire was lit.  E-5 was the alleged ring leader of the arson.  E-5 admitted to drug use but denied any participation in the arson.  After a fully contested general court-martial with members, E-5 was acquitted of the arson.  He was sentenced only for the drug possession, use, and distribution that he freely admitted to.  An alleged co-conspirator was convicted of the arson and received a 10-year sentence.

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-8 charged with stealing money and ATM cards from multiple Marine’s wallets, then using the cards to withdraw cash.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps 0-4 was discovered distributing child pornography over the internet.  Bruce White worked with civilian counsel defending the general court-martial.  Defense limited the confinement period to 3 months. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-6 charged with BAH fraud.  Case revolved around interpretation of orders and the credibility of claims filed by the accused.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps E-7 engaged in sexual relations with a Lance Corporal within the Command.  He was charged with fraternization.  Bruce White defended him at his special court-martial.  In a contested members case, Bruce White successfully attacked  whether the conduct was prejudicial to good order and discipline under UCMJ Article 134.  The members rendered a full acquittal.  Defendant subsequently promoted to Master Sergeant and Master Gunnery Sergeant.

(Meeks) Marine Corps 0-2 charged with sexual harassment and maltreatment of subordinate on multiple occasions with multiple alleged victims.  Case centered on possible collusion between “victims.”  Full contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps E-5 facing his third court-martial for drafting checks with insufficient funds.  E-5 had over 20 years of service and the command was attempting to obtain a bad conduct discharge which would have deprived him of his retirement benefits.  Through effective advocacy, Bruce White limited the reduction to Lance Corporal and preserved his lifetime retirement benefits. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-3 charged with rape of fellow Marine after dancing at the club.  Issue centered on character of truthfulness of the alleged victim.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in a full acquittal. 

(White) Marine Corps E-3 facing cocaine use allegation due to positive urinalysis test.  Fully contested members trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-5 charged with luring victim into residence and sexually molesting her.  Case focused on major credibility issues with child victim and prior lies.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-5 charged with molesting neighbor child.  Case centered on questionable forensic expert, but complicated by late breaking allegations from the accused’s sister of abuse occurring when they were children.  Fully contested member’s trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-6 charged with hazing in an infantry unit.  Case complicated by testimony of numerous junior Marines who bargained for lesser sentences in exchange for testimony against the Staff Sergeant.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-2 charged with aggravated assault of another Marine while attached to a separations company pending discharge.  Case complicated by testimony of numerous Marines who implicated the accused as the aggressor.  Case focused on the character for violence of the alleged victim and his actions to provoke a confrontation.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal.    

(Meeks) Marine Corps 0-2 with compromise of national security information in deployed environment.  Avoided court-martial and non-judicial punishment, finished service commitment with honorable discharge. 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-3 charged with distribution of controlled substances.  Case focused on a controlled buy where there were equipment problems and failures.  Fully contested members’ trial, resulting in full acquittal of the accused. 

Negotiated Pleas: 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-8 charged with long term sexual molestation of step daughter.  Case revolved around the psychological condition of the accused and the definition of his actions as either rape or carnal knowledge.  Government agreed to pleas to carnal knowledge, sought to prove rape.  Judge committed error by admitting statements of the alleged victim, petition in matters presented after the case resulted in the convening authority disapproving rape conviction.  15 year sentence reduced
to 10 years. 

(White) Shipboard Navy E-3 charge with stealing more than $10,000 in electrical equipment from Marines while they were ashore for OIF operations.  Based on the detailed Navy JAG's recommendation, E-3 waived his Article 32 investigation and was negotiating a GCM felony-level conviction PTA.  Despite the Article 32 waiver, White convinced the prosecutor to take the case back to a "no-cap" SPCM.  After the contested sentencing hearing, judge rendered 8 month confinement sentence -- beating the PTA by 4 months. 

(Meeks) Navy E-5 charged with murder of 7 year  old son and attempted murder of wife.  Case initially referred as “capital,” with the government seeking the death penalty.  Long term investigation into mental state of the accused, coupled with extensive pretrial litigation, results in death penalty being taken off the table.  Accused to be eligible for parole after serving 17 years of confinement. 

(White) Coast Guard E-5 nearing the end of her enlistment contract accused of long term sexual relation with O-3.   Both parties were married.  Command agreed not pursue court-martial or Article 15 action against E-5.  Allowed her to leave service with an honorable discharge preserving her GI Bill benefits.

(Meeks) Navy E-5 charged with murder of wife by shooting, disposing of body in wilderness area aboard base.  Case initially referred capital, with government seeking death penalty.   Case centered around whether the accused had conspired with paramour to commit murder; government ultimately unable to establish.  Negotiated plea of guilty for a term of years, retained eligibility for parole at 17 years of confinement. 

(White) Army E-1 unauthorized 8 year absence from the Army terminated by apprehension.  E-1 had since established successful career and feared losing his job.  White facilitated OTH discharge within 2 weeks.  There was no impact in E-1's civilian employment.   

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-2 charged with murder of stranger at party by shooting.  Case had potential gang related undertones.  Case initially referred capital, with the government seeking the death penalty.  Life without the possibility of parole was also an authorized sentence.  Through extensive preparation and pretrial motions practice, able to negotiate a plea for term of years vice death or life without parole. 

(White) Marine Corps E-3 was headed for an Article 32 Investigation for possession of ecstasy, LSD, Cocaine, and psychedelic mushrooms with intent to distribute aboard Camp Pendleton.  White convinced command to resolve the case with a summary court-martial and an OTH discharge.  E-3 left the Marine Corps with no criminal conviction. 

(Meeks) Female Marine Corps 0-4 charged with fraternization and adultery with a male E-3 while in command.  Case complicated by evidence of ongoing contact after the relationship was discovered.  Negotiated case to disposition at non-judicial punishment vice an Article 32 investigation and General court-martial.   Major subsequently ordered to “show cause” for retention and characterization of service.  At Board of Inquiry before 3 colonels, able to persuade board to characterize service as “honorable.” 

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-1 charged with stealing an Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), driving it through the closed installation gate, damaging local roads, causing an accident with a civilian vehicle, and causing almost $200,000 damage to the AAV, all while intoxicated.  Accused had a prior summary and special court-martial for alcohol and vehicle related offenses.  Negotiated pretrial agreement for 18 months confinement.   Judge gave 3 years confinement.   Sentence subsequently reduced to 9 months confinement by appellate courts.  

(Meeks) Marine Corps E-5 charged with stranger rape on Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  Involved a confession and significant physical evidence.  Judge awarded 10 years confinement at a guilty plea, subject to a pretrial agreement.   Negotiated pretrial agreement for 2 years confinement, avoiding 8 years additional confinement.