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Steven P. Shewmaker
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Steven Shewmaker’s Answers

453 total


  • Can my command call my wife's doctor to verify her appointment with a civilian doctor? Is that against HIPPA?

    My command is asking for a written excuse for my wife's medical appointment with a civilian doctor, where I had to take her and miss the morning. Do they have the authority to call my wife's doctor, even if it is a civilian doctor.

    Steven’s Answer

    Whether HIPPA is violated is over thinking the problem. The military has a boatload of discretionary authority over you. As Bill said, they can choose not to believe you and reprimand you or give you an article 15. They can put you through a boatload of misery with impunity before you ever get to the HIPPA issue.

    You should want the doctor to back you up and so should your wife. Your wife can authorize the release of everything, and the HIPPA concern just evaporates.

    In the end, if you don't make this happen, you aren't for real. This begins to look like barracks lawyer conjecture.

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  • Felony theft charge 4 years ago

    I got arrested on a felony theft charge ($1200) 4 years ago. I was sentence to a pretrial diversion program which included restitution and community service. I didn't complete the program because I lost my job. I have just received notice in the m...

    Steven’s Answer

    Noah is right. Maybe the case goes away since it has been so long. Witnesses and evidence can fade over time. If the evidence is still solid, you need to be talking with your lawyer about a defense.

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  • I have been charged with a DUI, active duty army, what can I do?

    I've been in the army for 5-1/2 years, I'm currently a Sergeant. I got arrested for DUI March 6th, 2015. 5 months have gone by without anything happening, I went through 3 company commanders, 2 brigade commanders and even PCS'd (Itra-installation ...

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, you have an unfortunate problem. If you had six years, you would be entitled to a board to decide (at least preliminarily) your fate, At less than six years, the Army says you have not earned the right to a board (unless the command was seeking an Other Than Honorable) characterization of discharge, The command is wise (from their point of view) to seek a General discharge. The command can basically discharge you with impunity.

    Your best move right now is to get Trial Defense involved. They should seek to delay this matter to get you to six years, In addition, you need your lawyer to draft a compelling response to this to try to convince the commander not to discharge you, or to at least give you an Honorable discharge. To that end, you also need to hire a good DUI defense attorney in El Paso. Your response should highlight all the good work you have done, and it should include many letters in support.

    Hire an attorney.

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  • How will an Other Than Honorable Discharge from the reserves affect my state employnent?

    Two months ago I was hired by the state government working for the Department of Corrections. In accepting the job I had to leave my reserve unit and since there are no units within several hundred miles. Long story short I am in the process of re...

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, yes, yes and yes. STOP what you are doing, AND GET AN ATTORNEY. An attorney can immediately reach out to your unit commander and attempt to repair and broker a better deal than this. It may be too late, but if you don't try, you will definitely not improve things. My assumption is that you are coded for excessive absences (UA) and they are hitting you with an OTH. If so, they must allow you to have a separation board.

    I could go on, but all you need to know from anyone on this forum right now, is that you need to get an attorney involved first thing tomorrow morning.

    Do this right away.

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  • I have being separate from my husband for about 5 years, if he decide to divorce me, do I will have any benefits?

    I have being separate from my husband for about 5 years, if he decide to divorce me, do I will have any benefits? Asked 4 days ago - Columbia, SC I am 59 and he is 61 . Even when we are separate, ( by his choice, not legally) last year we went t...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Whether you will get any of his pensions is a matter for the state court judge. A jury is an option if your divorce occurs in one of the two remaining states where a jury may be used in a domestic matter (those being Texas and Georgia). In all likelihood, a judge alone will decide this. The judge is allowed to award either of you a fair percentage of the pension earned during the marriage, but not what was earned before the marriage. Based upon your length of marriage, I believe you stand a good change of getting a fair amount. Just keep in mind that the federal government cannot pay you more than 50% of his pension to you directly as a division of property (and another 15% maximum for alimony or child support).

    Of course he will say you will get nothing. That is what he is supposed to say to scare you. He hopes to scare you into a quick settlement that favors him. Also, he may be ignorant and actually believe what he says.

    Another matter is whether your five years apart (or not apart) will effect a division of his pensions earned in those five years. States have different laws about that. In my state, Georgia, that matter is left totally to the discretion of the judge (or a jury!). Do not just give in to what he says. I know you have been married to him for a long time, but he is not always right, is he? Why would he be right this time?

    Be advised that if you qualify for medical benefits, that will dry up if you remarry. Your pension award is not going to dry up if you remarry. Pension is a division of property, you can remarry time and time again and keep getting that portion of his pension, BUT, if you have the Survivor Benefit Plan and remarry, you will lose that.

    There could be a lot going on here. I recommend you find a licensed South Carolina attorney in the Colombia area for a consult. Many of us on Avvo also give free consults. Good luck to you Ma'am.

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  • What is an Article 138 of the UCMJ and in what situation can a soldier use it?

    If my commander is constantly using the word sh** towards me and in front of the other soldiers, is there something I can do about? For example, he is constantly looking at me to see what I am doing and I noticed that he was looking but did not sa...

    Steven’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    No no no. Article 138 is when the commander should be taking a non-discretionary action and he refuses to do so. Here, your commander is belittling or harassing you. You should always address this head on and ask the commander to cease doing this. Put it in an email, so there is no denying the message was conveyed.

    If it continues, there are regulations against unprofessional conduct. Depending upon your branch of service, they may vary. I know, for example, that the Army is cracking down harshly on "toxic leadership". In fact, it is getting a ton of mileage out of Army Regulation 600-20, Army Command Policy, particularly the section against “bullying”.

    This regulation - in a nutshell - says that if you feel the commander is singling you out for the purposes of belittling and bullying you, you can lodge a complaint. To whom? To Equal Opportunity, to his higher commander, to the Inspector General, to whomever.

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  • If my commander is doing a commanders inquiry on me can they start survalancing my house before they notify my I'm under investi

    I've heard my commander started a commanders inquiry on me and that my house is under survalancing but I haven't even been questioned yet

    Steven’s Answer

    In my humble opinion, it would be unusual for them to watch your house. It may not be illegal to do so, but it is not common. They can make observations in public areas to public areas without breaking the law. They can make observations before launching a formal inquiry, but it seems very unusual to me.

    You may wish to speak to your base trial defense or legal assistance judge advocate about it a bit more.

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  • Can a shoplifting at age 16 be expunged from record in GA?. What options can they have?

    Relative's daughter (16 yo) is caught shoplifting at Kohls in Forsyth county, GA. Got the citation and wait for court date. It's her first offense. What can they expect to happen in court? Will this stay on her permanent record? She is a strai...

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes, hire an attorney. Chances are good that an attorney can get the case dismissed. You are correct that the stakes are too high to not address it promptly and aggressively with an attorney. Many of us on Avvo give free consults.

    Good luck

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  • I was stopped for dui took a blood test came back negative but had nordiazpam lower than the lowest calibrator do I need a lawye

    Was charged with failure 2 maintain lane as well and refused to take test was given one anyway

    Steven’s Answer

    That FACT that you are asking these questions means you need a lawyer. Your description is vague, so it is hard to answer. For example, you say you were cited for failure to maintain lane as well as "refused to take test", but then you mention that you had a blood test anyway. You are all over the place.

    If you were stopped and arrested for DUI, then it is very likely the officer read you an Implied Consent warning. He did this and then asked you to submit to a state test of your blood, breath (first and most likely) or urine. You say you took a blood test which came back low or "lowest". If you were a "refusal" did they take you driver's license? Did they issue you a piece of paper instead of your license?

    These are basic questions that a qualified lawyer would ask you to figure out what exactly is going on here. You need a real lawyer - not an Avvo - commentary, and you need it very soon.

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  • What if I was drive without license in had a blow out on my car, in want to jail. Is that revoking my probation..

    Had a blow out on my car... Need help my probation officer or try to take me to jail....

    Steven’s Answer

    Yes. That could be a problem for you.

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