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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 34529
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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I have been awarded a reduction in rank at Captain's Mast

Customer Question

Hi, I have been awarded a reduction in rank at Captain's Mast while underway for Fraternization. The award is based on 3 persons words. All junior Sailor's with multiple infractions on their records while I've been in for 16 years and have never had an infraction. With the reduction in rank, I'm set to be separated due to High Year Tenure. What kind of wording would you suggest I include in my appeal, if any?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.
The Appeal must be for either
1. The procedure was unfair
2. The punishment was excessive
Was either the above true for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, I think it was excessive. I mean, I have been in for 16 years with zero history of any kind of infraction and I have an impeccable service record. To be reduced in rank for hearsay seems excessive. I'm hoping to appeal for a suspension in rank.
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** help to chat on the phone about this?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I prefer the chat online if that's ok with you?
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
Certainly. So what is your specific question?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm not sure how to word my appeal. This is what I have and I just want to know if it's strong enough, am I saying it right, something...I kinda feel alone with it and like I'm gonna screw it up..."3. Basis for Appeal. The non-judicial punishment awarded was, under the circumstances, disproportionate to the acts of misconduct that I allegedly committed. The punishment was disproportionate due to the sole means of hearsay and lack of sufficient proof with evidence.4. Action Requested. Based on the foregoing, I respectfully ***** ***** punishment awarded at the subject mast be reduced in the following manner: suspension in rank based on my sixteen years of good conduct, impeccable service record and my inability to opt for Courts Martial."
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 2 years ago.
A couple of thoughts.
First, understand that punishment at nonjudicial punishment is, by definition, not severe. If you're actually guilty of the misconduct, then you escaping court-martial is, in and of itself, a benefit.
So consider rewording your appeal to focus not on the punishment but on the quality of the evidence presented.
Also, I understand that hearsay is admissible at article 15. So arguing that they should not consider hearsay is, in my opinion, a waste of time.
That said, the reputation for honesty of the individuals who provided evidence against you is relevant. If you have any evidence that suggests the folks who provided evidence against your are liars? That would be highly relevant. If you have such evidence, I would focus on that in your appeal.
Also, evidence of your good military character is relevant. Presenting statements from folks who know you well, and can testify to your military character, can also be helpful on appeal.
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

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