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Attorneys of Trial Defense Service represent Soldiers when in trouble

By Maria Childs | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | February 07, 2017

     Editor’s Note: This is part four of a seven-part series on the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate at Fort Riley.

     The first sentence of the preamble of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice states there are three purposes of military justice. It reads, “the purpose of military law is to promote justice, assist and maintain a good order of discipline in the Armed Forces, to promote efficiency and effectiveness in the military establishment and thereby to strengthen the national security of the United States.”

     Maj. Daniel Goldberg, senior defense counsel with Trial Defense Services at Fort Riley, said he thinks the first sentence sets the priority of order for the purpose of military law with promoting justice being the first priority.

     “I’m fond of quoting that because good order and discipline isn’t the sole purpose of military law and the procedure that comes with it — promoting justice is,” he said. “And that’s not a one-way street. What the command thinks is justice, might not be justice to the soldier and it might not be justice at large.”

     Goldberg and his team of attorneys and paralegals work to represent Soldiers when they have legal trouble.

     “If the command is going to do something adverse to a Soldier, we are here to represent that Soldier,” he said.

     Although TDS is separate from the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, the team works closely with the offices within the OSJA. The team cannot be part of the 1st Infantry Division chain of command.

     “We wouldn’t be able to a good job for our clients because we would always have it in the back of our minds that the person evaluating us has this goal to make the division commander happy,” Goldberg said.

     Despite not being part of the team, the offices must maintain a professional working relationship because Goldberg’s job requires negotiation with other parts of the OSJA.

     “If my client pleads guilty, I need to get the best deal for him possible and that requires negotiation with the government,” he said. “We’re adversaries, but we try not be adversarial.”

     Goldberg’s senior rater is the regional defense counsel for the Great Plains region in Leavenworth, Kansas.

     “Imagine if the commanding general here commanded me and could give me a GOMR (general officer memorandum of reprimand),” he said. “It would scare me and I would be too intimidated to do my job, which is to look out for Soldiers.”

     About a month ago, a flood occurred in building 222, where TDS is located. This caused a relocation of the office into the same building as the OSJA. Goldberg explained the relocation had to be strategic because it could create a conflict of interest if the TDS team was located near the military justice office in the basement.

     “We have to be unencumbered, which is why we have our own building away from prying eyes,” he said.

     The team anticipates moving back the near future and will return to normal operations. The office accepts walk-ins as well as appointments every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday and Thursdays are reserved for Article 15 and chapter action appointments. For more information, call 785-239-3430.

 

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