Report Says BCMR’s Flying Blind, No Pilot, includes Court Decision SPN Code Info

In a REPORT entitled “Military Record Correction Boards and their Judicial Review, Military Law Section Program“,  dated JUNE 11, 2010, and prepared by one Raymond J. Toney, a lawyer from Woodland, Calif.  The State of Texas Military Law Committee asked Mr. Toney to present said Report.  This writer spoke on the telephone with Mr. Toney this day, October 5, 2010.   The BCMR’S are basically a joke.

This REPORT prepared for the State Bar of Texas Annual Meeting, Military Law Committee Correction of Military Records and Judicial Review, has proven to be a shocker, and, should OUTRAGE every veteran !  Why you ask, well hold the phone.

In said REPORT under “ L. “ it states;  “ (1)  Navy BCMR members devote on average 1.6 minutes to deciding each application;  (2)  Army BCMR members devote on average 3.75 minutes to deciding each application;  (3)  the Navy, Army, and Coast Guard do not require their board members to review applications and supporting evidence before deciding applications “.  ( underscoring supplied )   WHAT ??!!

See Link – Report

Under “ S “, Thoughts and Observations on BCMR Practice it states;  (1)  Create no expectations of a successful outcome and try to keep client expectations in check, even where claims appear very strong .  end quote  ( underscoring supplied )    What this is saying is,  if you have a strong case NOBODY will look it over, and whoopee, who cares about America’s Veterans !  Moreover, one of the claims you can bring before said Boards is “ Procedural violations ( due process ) “.

Mr. Toney writes again under “ S “, Thoughts & Observations;  (6)  In my experience, the BCMRs see their roles as defending the actions of the military, not as impartial adjudicators, i.e. the process is adversarial, though not intended to be and without the procedural safeguards of an adversarial process.

In a recent posting here at Veterans Today, this writer told readers about a court case,  CASEY  v.  U.S.  from 1985 having to do with “ STIGMA DISCHARGES “, those vets branded with a secret coded number known as a SPN, SDN, or SPD code.  Legal Precedent and Res Judicata ( already decided )  were discussed in REOPENING a claim with a BCMR.  Mr. Toney points out the following;  Courts must “ defer to the Board’s decision unless it is arbitrary and capricious, contrary to law, or unsupported by substantial evidence “.  In CASEY  v.  U.S.  it had already been decided that a veteran should have had a Due Process Hearing before being assigned a stigmatizing coded number.  Moreover,  the BCMR’S were aware of this court decision and rendered arbitrary decisions contrary to law, and completely unsupported by substantial evidence.

A point of interest, some commentators have spoken out that the Court of Federal Claims be designated the sole forum for judicial review of military decisions.  If this were so, the CASEY case would have prevented the BOARDS from running amuck.  There is a Sub-Committee on the HOUSE ARMED SERVICES called  MILITARY PERSONNEL, and the Chairwomen for that Committee is one Congresswomen Susan A. Davis of San Diego.  Where is the oversight ?   Congresswoman Davis was FAXED on two (2) occasions, Aug. 12, 2010, and September 23, 2010, those same four (4) questions that appeared in the story BCMR’S FAILING VETERANS.  To date, there has been no reply from her office.

We who served in the military expect proper and respectful treatment when asking to correct records.  This is NOT a joke to us.  Veterans should demand properly trained personnel to work at the BOARDS, and take time to read, and examine evidence presented.   Fair and Just is all we ask for, and its not present.

Copyright 2010 -   Edwin Crosby III

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