The Marine Corps is committed to promoting and protecting the rights and interests of victims of sexual assault and other crimes by ensuring you receive assistance through the Victims’ Legal Counsel Organization (VLCO) and other support services available throughout the Marine Corps.
As your Victim Legal Counsel, I am your attorney. I have been licensed by a state bar to practice law, and I have been certified by the Judge Advocate General of the Navy to act as counsel in courts-martial and to represent service members and other eligible victims like you. I do not work for your Commanding Officer or anyone within your chain of command or the command of the alleged offender. I am assigned to the Marine Corps Victims’ Legal Counsel Organization and belong to an independent supervisory chain whose sole mission is to represent eligible individuals like you. My independence means that no one in your chain of command or the chain of command of the person who assaulted you will influence my representation of you.
I will assist you in understanding and exercising your legal rights connected to your reported sexual assault or other crime. This will include advocating on your behalf and with your permission to military authorities to promote, preserve, and protect your rights. Within the military, these rights include the right to be treated with fairness and respect for your dignity and privacy; the right to be reasonably protected from the offender (Military Protective Order); the right to be notified of court proceedings; the right to be present at all public court proceedings; the right to confer with government counsel in the case; and the right to be provided information about any conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the offender. If you are an eligible service member and a victim of sexual assault, you may have the right to an expedited transfer from your current unit.
Military Justice System:
I will assist you in understanding the military justice system, which includes the investigative and disciplinary processes. I will promote and protect your rights and interests in the military justice system. This will include, with your permission, advocating on your behalf to various parties such as military criminal investigators (NCIS, CID, etc.); military commanders (including convening authorities); lawyers for military commanders (also known as staff judge advocates); military prosecutors (also known as trial counsel); the offender’s defense counsel; pretrial investigation officers; pretrial confinement initial review officers; and military judges. I can attend your interviews with investigators, trial counsel, and defense counsel.
If the accused is charged, I will represent you in military justice proceedings, such as at preliminary hearings and a court-martial. I will present facts and legal arguments on your behalf through written pleadings and, if permitted by the court, oral arguments to protect certain victims’ rights.