"Ei Incumbit Probation Qui Dicit."

Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. The concept is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what the law says about reasonable doubt, there is an unwritten presumption within the ranks of the military that if you are charged with sexual assault, then you are guilty. The stakes are your life! Your military counsel works for the same military that charged you. Consider that as you choose who represents you in your potentially life altering case.

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Second Psychiatrist Requested in Bergdahl Case

Another motion has been filed by Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's defense team. This time, the lawyers are asking that they be granted their own forensic psychiatrist to level the playing field with the prosecution-- which already is already benefiting from the expertise of its own psychiatrist.

As Stars and Stripes reports, the motion filed earlier this week requests that defense team be able to hire psychiatrist Gregory Saathoff. Saathoff, who has extensive courtroom experience, conducted critical reviews in the case of Ariel Castro, the Ohio man who kept three women captive in his home for a decade and was arrested in 2013.

"The fact that the prosecution has retained an independent civilian forensic psychiatrist with extensive experience testifying in high-profile trials, and who has a reputation of as a national leading expert in forensic psychiatry mandates that the defense be provided a similarly qualified expert," the motion reads. "The defense will accept a civilian substitute who is comparable to Dr. Saathoff as one of the nation's premier forensic psychiatrists, and with Dr. Morgan's qualifications in combat stress, PTSD and the effects of captivity."

Bergdahl's Mental Health

Bergdahl's mental health is likely to be a central point to the defense's case in his court-martial. This year's season of the Serial podcast revealed that Bergdahl struggled with schizotypal personality disorder in his youth and at the time of his disappearance, as well. Before joining the U.S. Army, Bergdahl had entered boot camp for the U.S. Coast Guard. Following a bloody panic attack, he was found have suffered from adjustment disorder and depression. He left boot camp-- but later cleared an Army psychiatric review during a troop surge.

Bergdahl's mental struggles have been confirmed by the Army. Last summer, Col. Christopher Lange diagnosed him with schizotypal personality disorder at the time of his 2009 disappearance. The diagnosis tracks with Bergdahl's testimony about his reasoning for leaving his post in remote Afghanistan: he wanted to alert a neighboring base to decisions his own commanders were making that he felt put him and his fellow soldiers in danger. Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by feelings of paranoia, social anxiety, and delusions of grandeur.

Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law is a 10+ year U.S. Army vet who now advocates on behalf of accused armed service members. He has traveled the world to represent his clients both in and outside the courtroom and established an industry reputation for providing hard-hitting counsel and favorable results.

If you're an armed service member facing a criminal allegation, our firm is ready to hear from you. Call our offices today.

Categories: Military Law News

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