Victims Legal Counsel
Legal advice and counseling for victims of crimes under the UCMJ
VLC provide victims an overview of the military justice system, including: investigation of crimes; roles and responsibilities of the convening authority, trial counsel, defense counsel, and investigators; purpose of the Article 32 hearing (also known as a Preliminary Hearing); preferral and referral of charges; trial procedures; and evidentiary matters.
VLC assist victims to understand legal options including: obtaining restraining orders and military protective orders; making Restricted versus Unrestricted reports of sexual assault; and obtaining testimonial or transactional immunity regarding collateral misconduct before testifying against the accused in the case.
Privileged, confidential communication with a VLC attorney devoted to protecting your interests in the military justice process
Marine Corps VLC are judge advocates, who are highly qualified attorneys with extensive military justice backgrounds, have completed a certified victims’ advocacy course, and are required to be selected through a "sensitive screening process."
VLC do not report to your commanding officer, law enforcement, or any other entity unless you make a specific request. The VLCO chain-of-command is functionally independent of convening authorities, staff judge advocates, LSSS OICs, trial counsel, and defense counsel. VLC are under the supervision of, and report to, the OIC, VLCO, who reports directly to the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant of the Marine Corps.
VLC can provide information and guidance to victims regarding any crime committed in violation of the UCMJ
The VLC will assist you in understanding the military justice system, which includes the investigative and disciplinary processes, and will promote and protect your rights and interests in the military justice system. This will include, with your permission, advocating on your behalf to various parties such as military criminal investigators (NCIS, CID, etc.); military commanders (including convening authorities); lawyers for military commanders (also known as staff judge advocates); military prosecutors (also known as trial counsel); the offender’s defense counsel; pretrial investigation officers; pretrial confinement initial review officers; and military judges. I can attend your interviews with investigators, trial counsel, and defense counsel.
VLC will refer victims to defense, legal assistance, and/or civilian resources when appropriate
VLCO services supplement, not replace, existing victim support services, including assistance currently provided by VWAP, SAPR Program, FAP, SARC, and Victim Advocates.
Restricted reports remain restricted; all communications with VLC are confidential Conversations between VLC and victims are confidential and privileged communications. The relationship between a VLC and victim is that of an attorney-client relationship.
Assist with obtaining Military/Civilian Protective Order (MPO/CPO)
Assist with expedited transfer (unrestricted report)
VLCO-West continues to support victims through this pandemic.
Appointments may be made by contacting the Paralegal at (760) 207-8833 / email@example.com
or at (760) 213-3702