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Serving Lexington, Rockbridge, Buena Vista, Bedford, Botetourt, Alleghany and Augusta

 

Neill Wente, Attorney at Law | Lawyer | Lexington, VA

Neill reserves a portion of his practice to serve military clients on active duty facing court martial, administrative separation, or other adverse administrative action, as well as veterans seeking correction of military records.  With more than 8 years of experience as an active duty Judge Advocate, Neill has a true passion for defending service members facing charges under the UCMJ.

 

As you weigh the extremely important decision of whether to hire a civilian counsel, which is your absolute right under the UCMJ, and if so, which civilian counsel to hire…please give Neill a call for a free consultation.  On active duty he served not only as a Defense Counsel, but also as a Military Prosecutor and as an attorney on staff to a General Court Martial Convening Authority.  He has experience analyzing military justice cases from each respective angle, and can quickly identify critical vulnerabilities in the government’s evidence, which can be exploited to achieve a favorable result for the client.  He is also incredibly effective at presenting evidence in extenuation and mitigation, in the event that you choose to seek a deal with the government.

MILITARY LAW

CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE UNDERTAKEN BY THE ATTORNEY.

Neill’s achievements in Military Court have been impressive, consistently achieving outstanding results for his clients by beating the sentencing deal in guilty pleas, and amassing an impressive list of full acquittals and cases for which the charges were dropped altogether following the Article 32 Investigative Hearing.

Neill represented a junior Marine facing two Courts Martial for drug use.  He successfully litigated four pre-trial motions on the young Marine’s behalf, gaining a trial advantage that led to a full acquittal at the first Court Martial based on the defense of innocent ingestion.  In light of this result, the charges for the second court martial were withdrawn and dismissed by the government.

 

For a staff non-commissioned officer facing General Court Martial accused of dealing drugs to his junior Marines, Neill negotiated a 24 month pre-trial agreement.  He then uncovered and expertly presented evidence that his client’s prescription painkiller addiction stemmed from service connected injuries.  The case in extenuation and mitigation was so effective that his client was sentenced to only 14 months.

 

A staff non-commissioned officer was charged at General Court Martial for chambering a round and pointing a loaded 9MM in the face of one his troops.  This happened in front of an entire platoon in a combat zone.  His client having already provided a full confession, Neill successfully negotiated a plea agreement at a Special Court Martial with no protections for confinement. However his sentencing argument was so effective, demonstrating that the misconduct stemmed from combat stress, that the client received no sentence to confinement.

 

Neill represented a staff non-commissioned officer charged with 10 specifications of unauthorized absence, fraud and false official statements.  At trial, through aggressive cross examination of the government witnesses, Neill focused the jury on several weaknesses in the government’s evidence, securing not-guilty findings on 9 of the 10 specifications.  After presenting an effective sentencing case, the client received only restriction, a punishment more consistent with Non-Judicial Punishment than a Court Martial.

 

At an Article 32 hearing for a client accused of distributing narcotics in the barracks, Neill was able to convince the Convening Authority to withdraw the charges and abandon the case.  Through cross examination alone Neill was able to demonstrate that the Provost Martial Office, Criminal Investigative Division, the civilian Base Police and Naval Criminal Investigative Service all mishandled the investigation, crime scene and evidence, by eliciting contradictory statements from different members of law enforcement, and showing how their testimony was contradicted by crime scene photos.

 

At an Article 32 hearing, Neill represented one of three Marines charged with the gang rape of a civilian in the barracks.  Neill effectively cross examined the government witnesses, including the accuser, who admitted on the stand that she had never objected to sex at the time of the incident, and that she had called the Uniformed Victim Advocate and claimed to have been raped only because she wanted a ride home, not realizing that the allegation would lead to the arrest of the subjects.  The charge of rape was withdrawn and dismissed and Neill’s client was allowed to plead to time served for use of the synthetic drug “spice” in the barracks.

 

At a contested General Court Martial with members (jury) Neill represented a staff non-commissioned officer charged with forcible rape, giving a false official statement, and adultery.  Through effective cross examination, Neill was able to illuminate significant discrepancies in the testimony of both the accuser and the investigating agent.  The client was convicted only of adultery, which through a negotiated post trial agreement was reduced to Non-Judicial Punishment, sparing his client a criminal conviction.

 

In what Neill considers to have been his greatest achievement as a defense counsel in military justice, he represented a junior Marine….just back from a combat deployment…who was accused of causing grievous bodily injury to his infant daughter when healed over bilateral rib fractures were discovered on an X-ray.  By the time Neill got the case, the allegation was almost one year old, and his client had already provided a confession to NCIS in order that his wife could regain custody of their daughter, who had been removed from the home.  Neill met with the Convening Authority and the Staff Judge Advocate in order to attempt to negotiate a favorable pre-trial agreement for his client.  Ultimately his client pleaded guilty through culpable negligence at a General Court Martial.  Neill then put on such an extremely effective case in extenuation and mitigation that, despite a request from the prosecutor that the client receive a sentence to years in confinement, ultimately the Military Judge sentenced no confinement and urged the Convening Authority to review the record of trial before approving the conviction.   After reviewing the record of trial, the Convening Authority agreed with this and resolved the case administratively through a post-trial agreement, setting aside the conviction.  

Case Results:

Serving Camp Lejeune, Naval Station Norfolk, or any installation on the east coast.

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Neill takes a personal approach to your representation.  He will personally interview each witness in your case, rather than relying on staff/assistants to conduct such interviews and fact finding.  He does not overload with too many cases, so that he can give your case the personal attention that it deserves and that is necessary to achieve the best result possible.   His pricing is extremely competitive.  

 

Many of Neill’s military clients have been afflicted by Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD or Combat stress, and he has substantial experience addressing these issues during the course of representation.