If you're in the military and accused of a crime do you have the right to know who the accuser is?

Asked about 1 year ago - Leominster, MA

Chain of command seems to be on a fishing expedition trying to discredit me because of a whistleblowing incident. They have accused but not charged me with anything and will not identify the accuser

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Philip Douglas Cave

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

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    Answered . Retaliation for using the IG, Congress, or Art. 138 is a crime, and is prohibited by statute.
    You should monitor for this and it can be a separate cause for complaint.
    It is not unusual for investigators in the very early stages to disclose little about a complaint.
    At some point they will have to disclose the full nature of the accusations.
    Until then you should remain silent and not make any statements to anyone about this, and you should get a lawyer and tell the investigators/command you have a lawyer.

    www.court-martial.com; www.court-martial.us.com; mljucmj@gmail.com 703-298-9562, 800-401-1583. Answering your... more
  2. William Emil Cassara

    Pro

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . Mr. Cave is correct. If you are charged, you will know who the accuser is. But don't wait till then. Retain counsel now.

    This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney... more
  3. Steven P. Shewmaker

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . Before you are charged, the investigation remains largely administrative. The commander has plenary authority to investigate allegations that may affect the unit's function and mission. Even at this stage you have rights, rights under the Bill of Rights, like not being forced to incriminate yourself, rights not to make statements, rights against unlawful search, etc. You do not technically have an accuser at this point (though it may certainly feel like you do), so you do not have the right or a forum in which to confront the accuser. If you are charged, you will have this right.

    This is a dangerous time for you. They can go fishing, and they may even hope that you will stew on this and blow up. This time is the equivalent of when a cop stops you on the highway and asks you if you knew why he stopped you and pauses: He is fishing and hoping that you fill the empty air with your attempts to convince him you are innocent. What you say - when unsolicited, like to co-workers, friends, etc. - is evidence that can be used against you.

    The best advice I can give you now is to resist the urge to talk. Don't talk to anyone, anyone at all. Don't go spill your guts to your supervisor, commander, or co-workers. Most of all, do not confront your accuser and say anything. Do not create an emotional scene. Go to work, do your best, and do not speak. If asked to speak, say nothing and ask to see the trial defense service on your local base.

    You mention a whistleblowing complaint. If you have documentation of this incident and the complaint, make certain you safeguard it for your records. There are federal and some state laws that protect whistleblowers. When you see a trial defense lawyer, you will want to mention this right away.

    I hope this helps. Good luck.

  4. John Daniel Hafemann

    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . You need to consult a military attorney immediately. You are charged. Feel free to give me a call for a free consult. Additional information is available on my website.

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