770 S. Post Oak Lane,
Houston, Texas 77056
Office: (713) 552-0300
Fax: (713) 552-0746
Military law is the term used to designate the body of case law, statutes, and regulations governing military personnel. Two of our three lawyers are experienced, certified judge advocates (military lawyers) authorized to practice in all military jurisdictions worldwide. Both served as prosecutors and as either a trial or appellate military judge. We are thoroughly familiar with the military justice and administrative systems. Our firm handles military cases at the trial level, on appeal, and in administrative matters.
We represent clients at all phases of the military justice system. We have experience representing clients at general courts-martial (felony courts), special courts-martial (misdemeanor courts), and summary courts-martial (a unique military court), as well as pretrial investigations under Article 32, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).
Servicemembers being tried by court-martial are entitled to an assigned military counsel provided without charge by the service (called “detailed counsel”). However, they also are entitled to hire civilian counsel at their own expense. Our lawyers are experienced in representing servicemembers from the very beginning of their cases. We conduct a thorough investigation of the facts and the applicable law, which helps us negotiate with the command to prevent charges, or get charges dismissed or reduced. If the case proceeds to trial, we are prepared to take on the Government at every turn. We represent enlisted and officer members of all services at courts-martial around the globe.
If there is a conviction and the convening authority approves a sentence that includes a punitive discharge (bad conduct discharge, dishonorable discharge, or dismissal), or one year or more of confinement, servicemembers get an appeal as a matter of right. Their case files are sent to the appropriate service court of criminal appeals: the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA), Army Court of Criminal Appeals (ACCA), Coast Guard Court of Criminal Appeals (CGCCA), or Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA). After the service court decides the case, the losing party may petition the highest military court, the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) (formerly the Court of Military Appeals, or COMA) for a discretionary review.
Again, servicemembers are assigned without charge a military appellate defense counsel, but may hire civilian counsel if they so choose. Our lawyers have extensive experience researching and preparing the written briefs submitted to the Courts, as well as orally arguing cases in Washington, D.C.
We are experienced in representing servicemembers in administrative matters as well, including administrative and medical separation processing, promotion and non-selection for promotion issues, officer misconduct, security clearance matters, and fitness report/performance evaluation appeals. We also submit application packages for the correction of military records to the various service boards such as the Air Force Board for Correction of Military Records (AFBCMR), Army Board for Correction of Military Records (ABCMR), Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR), Coast Guard Board for Correction of Military Records (CGBCMR), but we no longer handle administrative discharge upgrades. We also do not handle matters pertaining to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
Jack Zimmermann and Terri Zimmermann gained extensive experience as military counsel while on active and reserve duty, and they have been retained as civilian counsel in numerous courts-martial, appeals, and other military cases around the world.
Jack B. Zimmermann is a former prosecutor, defense counsel, and general court-martial (felony) trial judge in the United States Marine Corps. Mr. Zimmermann served for 14 years on active duty, including duty as the commanding officer of two artillery batteries in combat, where he earned two Bronze Star medals for heroism and the Purple Heart for wounds in action. He served for 16 years as an officer in the Marine Corps Reserve, including duty as the commanding officer of the infantry battalion headquartered in Houston. He retired in 1994 as a colonel, and was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal for his final assignment as a felony court-martial judge. Mr. Zimmermann served as lead counsel in the "Border Shooting Case" where two state grand juries and one federal grand jury refused to indict the active-duty Marine who returned fire, killing the man who fired on his patrol. Mr. Zimmermann was lead counsel in defense of a Marine aviator charged with twenty-seven specifications of orders violations. All charges were dismissed after the Article 32 hearing. He served as lead counsel for the Marine who was charged with negligent homicide for the death of an Iraqi prisoner, and was successful in getting all charges dismissed after a six day Article 32 hearing. Mr. Zimmermann was lead counsel in the court-martial of an Army surgeon, who was cleared of 19 specifications of distribution of controlled substances, obstruction of justice, false official statement, and orders violations. The military jury deliberated for 45 minutes. He also was lead counsel for an Army Special Forces officer, who was acquitted of rape and indecent acts.
Mr. Zimmermann was lead counsel representing LCpl Stephen Tatum, USMC, who originally was charged with the murder of Iraqi civilians during a counter-attack in response to an ambush in Haditha, Iraq. Click here for a description of the Article 32 Investigation hearing featured in the Texas Lawyer. All charges were dismissed with prejudice on the first day of trial in this case that had drawn international media attention.
Mr. Zimmermann was lead counsel at trial and on appeal of an Army officer charged with premeditated murder of an enemy insurgent in Iraq which carries an automatic life sentence. The officer was convicted of murder and served five years.
Mr. Zimmermann was lead counsel representing a Marine officer who was cleared of all charges and specifications of sexual assault and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Terri R. Zimmermann is a former prosecutor and chief of the Civil Law and Review sections at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, California, for which she was awarded the Navy-Marine Corps Commendation Medal. Ms. Zimmermann is a Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve, who for approximately ten years served as an appellate defense counsel in Washington, D.C. She is still active in the Marine Corps Reserve, serving as the Reserve counterpart to the Chief Defense Counsel of the Marine Corps. Prior to her current assignment, she served a tour as a military appellate judge on the Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals.
Ms. Zimmermann was lead counsel in the defense of an Army soldier accused of raping his ex-wife. She was successful in obtaining a dismissal at trial after a motion to suppress was granted. Ms. Zimmermann has handled many applications to the various Boards for Correction of Military Records.
She was co-counsel with Mr. Zimmermann in the "Border Shooting Case," and was co-counsel with Mr. Zimmermann representing LCpl Stephen Tatum, USMC, who originally was charged with the murder of Iraqi civilians during a counter-attack in response to an ambush in Haditha, Iraq. Click here for a description of the Article 32 Investigation hearing featured in the Texas Lawyer. All charges were dismissed with prejudice on the first day of trial in this case that had drawn international media attention.
Ms. Zimmermann was co-counsel in the appeal of an Army officer charged with premeditated murder of an enemy insurgent in Iraq which carries an automatic life sentence. The officer was convicted of murder and served five years.
Ms. Zimmermann was co counsel with Mr. Zimmermann representing a Marine officer who was acquitted of all charges and specifications of sexual assault and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Below are examples of some of the UCMJ offenses we handle, but the list is not exhaustive.
If you are facing any military legal issue, whether in the military justice system or administrative, you need experienced, zealous advocacy on your side as soon as possible. Contact the lawyers who can help with your military law issue at the law firm of Zimmermann Lavine & Zimmermann, P.C. today to schedule an initial consultation.