Outstanding Board Result
Our office just received another outstanding board result for a CW5 client. The government alleged that our client committed a flagrant violation of flying regulations, and displayed a lack of integrity in failing to report a suspected blade strike. In addition to our client, the government also sent his co-pilot, a CW3, to a flying evaluation board. The government sought to disqualify both pilots from aviation service and remove their authorization to wear the Army Aviation Badge.
When we were hired, there were just 18 days before the start of the board. The client had previously hired a civilian attorney that was not experienced with flying evaluation boards, and had not done anything to prepare an aggressive defense. As soon as the client retained our office, we immediately started working on his case. Our first step was to file a discovery request with the government and then file a motion with the government to either combine the two flying evaluation boards, or appoint new members for the CW3 pilot. The government ultimately denied the motion, and directed that the same board hear the case in separate hearings. Despite the negative ruling, Mr. Coombs sought to assist the CW3 in his client’s board through his questions since the CW3 and his client had a common defense position.
After just a couple of days working on the case, the client already felt an immense sense of relief (to see the client’s attorney review go here). Mr. Coombs had identified all the relevant witnesses, and already conducted extensive pretrial interviews. Through our office case management system, the client was able to see everything that was being done on his behalf. He could participate in the trial strategy process, and comment on the results of witness interviews.
By the time of his board, the client was able to sit confidently next to Mr. Coombs knowing that he had the best possible defense. Mr. Coombs began the board by conducing a thorough voir dire of the board members. The voir dire was designed to ensure that none of the members were biased, and to also expose them to the important issues in the case. After voir dire, Mr. Coombs delivered his opening statement that persuasively laid out the defense’s case. The board then, over the next two days, listened to testimony from twelve witnesses and reviewed hundreds of pages of documentary evidence. After reviewing the evidence and listening to argument from counsel, the board found that the client did not commit any of the allegations against him, and recommended that he be restored to aviation service.
The examination of the witnesses and the argument by Mr. Coombs was so compelling that the military attorney for the CW3 in the second board stated that he was relying upon everything that Mr. Coombs had done in the CW5’s board. The military attorney requested that the board consider the previous testimony and arguments by Mr. Coombs, and then simply rested his case. That strategy turned out to be a good one. The board came back that same day and found that the CW3 also did not commit any of the allegations against him, and recommended that he too be restored to aviation service.