I was currently informed by my chain of command that I will be undergoing a 14-12c chapter for malingering. I took a bunch of pills one day, and was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. The chain of command did a line of duty investigation and the conclusion was that I did to get out of a diagnostic PT test, lets leave away the ignorance in that finding and move on. I was in the hospital for a week and discharged with an "Adjustment Disorder". During my time there, I had many talks with psychiatrists and admitted that it was the wrong thing to do, so on. I went to legal assistance and they supposedly filed an appeal on my behalf. I will have 6 years in service come June, 2 ARCOMs, 5 AAMs, with no article 15s, I have never had an issue with prior units. Should I seek civilian council?
While these cases are very fact specific, it is certainly odd that one would be given a Chapter 14 for an alleged suicide attempt. You should certainly consult with civilian counsel so you can make an educated determination of whether you should hire one.
This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship with Mr. Cassara.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
This area of military law is under intense scrutiny. Last year, the Court of Appeals for the Armed for Forces overturned a Marine's conviction under UCMJ Article 134, Intentional Self Injury. While a charge of Malingering under Article 115 is different, the principles that the Court considered could apply to similar circumstances. Cases, such as yours, are fact intensive and you should consider consulting military counsel or a civilian counsel with military experience.
Military Law Attorney
You do need a lawyer. Whether you choose the free Trial Defense lawyer and/or paying a civilian is your decision. To answer your other questions/concerns:
1) 14-12c is very odd for the described alleged misconduct. Unfortunately you are under 6 years so if they initiate the separation, and give you an Honorable or General, you have no right to a hearing on the matter. You can submit papers/matters and have your lawyer fight to either convince the Command they are wrong and/or at least change the Chapter to a different one, like a Chapter 5. You have the right to a hearing IF you have 6 years or they recommend an Other Than Honorable characterization. So, to the extent possible, fly under the radar and don't be a spotlight and hope they forget until after you hit 6 years. If that's all that happened, you would likely have a strong retention case, if you have an otherwise good service record, with deployment(s), good NCOERs, etc..
2) Did you receive an Article 15? Strange that they would try to separate you without an ART 15. If not, you have a better case for retention and transfer/help.
3) If you have any service related disabilities start applying NOW through the VA. It's a lengthy process but easier if you are still active. Start gathering all your medical documents, and go request them because it takes weeks. Get everything medically you need from the military now.
4) Military is irresponsibly downsizing. You might also try to get help through your Congressman to point out that it's not right they separate you under these circumstances.
Talk to a lawyer in a sit down meeting. Good luck and thanks for your service.
*NOT LEGAL ADVICE. YOU HAVE NOT PAID ME A RETAINER. WE DO NOT HAVE AN ATTORNEY CLIENT RELATIONSHIP. This is general information for educational purposes only. You should always hire a lawyer and reveal all the unique facts to get the best answer for your unique situation. Answering this question on a public forum does not create an attorney-client relationship.