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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 34512
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Paperwork has been started for a company grade Art 15

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Paperwork has been started for a company grade Art 15. I missed an appointment about a month ago, and lied to my chain of command about it. After a few days, guilt really tore me up, and I came clean to them. I had my first hearing with the 1SG and my PSG today, and they don't have any sworn statements from me, I admitted my guilt verbally to the 1SG. This is the first time I have ever got into any trouble in the 4 years I've been in so far. What do I do?! They don't have a punishment chosen yet, and I have a lot of backing from my PSG, PL, and Section Sgt on how good of a soldier I have been, and how this is "out of character" for me, and the truth is, it really is. I panicked and tried to cover my ass, and it backfired. Any advice??

Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.

I would "fall on my sword" at this point.

The fact they do not have a sworn statement is not really significant. You told the 1SG...that would be admissible (if this landed in court). So I do not believe at this point it would be a good idea to "turn around and deny the confession"

The fact you "came clean" and the fact you have a spotless record? That is significant. I would expect that to help you out quite a bit. It may be they still impose punishment, but I would expect the punishment to be reduced based on your record

In the officer corps (for all services) there is an expectation that if an officer screws up, they take full responsibility. The term "fall on your sword" dates back many years and means, basically, for one to admit to and take responsibility for their actions. It seems you are in the middle of this good reason to turn around.

I would go into Art 15 and admit guilt. Then I would explain the plan you have to make sure this does not happen again. It may be they suspend any punishment...and, it MAY be they will consider vacating the punishment altogether (after a period of time) which would remove the Art 15 from your record.

Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Yeah, I am not an officer, I am enlisted. I agree, I didn't think the fact they had any sworn statements would matter. My battle buddies told me to contest it because of that fact, but I myself do not think it would be a good idea. I am a very truthful person, and I take full responsibility for what I did. I guess the fact of the matter, is like you said, to fall on my sword. We just returned from a deployment a few months ago, and I was PSD for the battalion commander and CSM. I really hope they look at what I have done in the past, as opposed to just focusing on the lie. Is there anything that you think I should say to the commander when I go into his office? (Company commander, he's a captain).

Again, what you describe? You are "set up" for this. Go in and admit the mistake. I generally recommend a 3 part approach (have a prepared statement that addresses these 3 parts)

1. Apologize. Make it sincere. Your are standing tall and taking up everyones time based on this misconduct.

2. Explain what you have learned from this. Again, sincerity is the key.

3. Explain what you plan to do going forward.

Address all three? Have folks who know you speak for you? I think you stand a great chance to get past this will minimal punishment.

Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can
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