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NCIS salutes 'prosecutor of the year'

By GySgt. Claudia M. LaMantia | | February 8, 2000

A Navy lieutenant's handling of a high-profile murder case became the inspiration for the first "Prosecutor of the Year" award for a Camp Pendleton-based lawyer.

Agents from U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service here decided to formally recognize the teamwork between themselves and the legal community, according to Daniel D. Simas, resident agent in charge, NCIS.

The plaque was given by Simas to Lt. Brian M. Bouffard, now a defense counsel with Legal Service Support Team-Delta, 1st Force Service Support Group. He received the award after serving two-and-a-half years as a prosecuting attorney.

Bouffard's involvement in a case where a sailor murdered his wife and later dumped her body in a sewage holding reservoir, is what highlighted him for the award.

The infamous case resulted in a guilty plea by the defendant and a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The heinous act of the accused and the investigative steps Bouffard followed, coupled with his hands-on approach overshadow any other case, said Simas.

The murder case was one of 228 the Duke University Law School graduate worked on during his tenure as prosecutor. Bouffard downplays his role and attempts to emphasize that he is just part of a team of professionals.

However, added Simas, "The fervor and overall preparation of the case was head and shoulders above any I've ever witnessed."

The dark-haired Texan's performance in court and his impeccable organizational skills made him an outstanding lawyer and an ideal candidate for the award, according to LtCol. John R. Ewers, officer in charge, Legal Service Support Section, 1st FSSG. 

In addition to recognizing the 32-year-old for his noteworthy performance, the award serves as a physical reminder of the close relationship between NCIS agents and the legal teams, said Ewers.

According to Simas, NCIS agents gather the facts on felony cases then bring the results to the unit and the legal team of the involved individuals. From there, the command determines whether to prefer charges on the accused.

Once a case is assigned, said Bouffard, part of his mission is to insure the mothers and fathers of America that their sons and daughters rights will be protected when dealing with the justice system in the military.