U.S. Army v. E-4 (Line of Duty Investigation)
Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Client was notified that the recommendation was going to be that he would be found not in the line of duty for an incident that took his leg. One evening, Client was suddenly awakened by a sound outside his door. He went to his closet, grabbed a shot gun and went to check out the noise. He leaned his shot gun on a kitchen wall behind him and walked to the kitchen window to look out the door. As he was looking out the window, the shot gun fell to the ground and discharged its 12 gauge round into one of his legs. He was eventually treated…and as part of the treatment, the doctors made the assessment that they needed to cut his leg off.
The only evidence provided to the client was the following: pictures taken by the responding police, a police report, the DA 2173, a memorandum of record and the notification of adverse finding. The DA 2173 specifically noted that the medical opinion in this case was that this incident occurred in the line of duty. What is interesting is that the investigator in this case failed to follow the appropriate regulations in conducting his review. AR 600-8-4 paragraph 3-3a states “[a]ll findings of fact should be supported by exhibits. Copies of military or civilian police accident reports, pertinent hospitalization or clinical records…shall be attached as exhibits when appropriate”.
In this case the investigating officer made numerous conclusory statements that were not supported by the evidence. He failed to follow the regulatory guidance. The investigating officer made a number of ludicrous assumptions that he was ill qualified to make. Additionally, the conclusions he came to lacked evidence, medical reports, and a forensic analysis of the scene of the shooting. In this case the evidence pointed to a different conclusion then the investigating officer wanted to make, so he omitted it, and did not follow this case to its logical conclusion.
The determination of the investigating officer must be supported by substantial evidence. This investigation severely lacked in substantial evidence for a finding of not in the line of duty.
Additionally this investigation lacked a specific articulation as to why the finding was not in the line of duty due to misconduct. AR 600-8-4 paragraph 7 provides that “[t]o arrive at such decisions, the rules in appendix B will be fully considered.” No such analysis occurred in this case. It is unclear what the IO’s decision is based on. The Commanding General agreed and made a determination that based on the facts provided to him, coupled with my analysis, that my Client will be found In The Line of Duty!
RESULT: Injury occurred IN THE LINE OF DUTY