RECENT CRIMINAL AND PERSONAL CONDUCT CASE VICTORIES

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security clearance expertU.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (June 5, 2017)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a United States military veteran and government contractor accused of presenting a security risk due to prior violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). Those violations – contributing to the delinquency of a minor and adultery – arose during separate, unrelated incidents, and were used by the military as evidence of a purported pattern of misconduct. Our attorneys pushed back aggressively against linking the incidents, noting that they occurred five (5) years apart and under highly unusual circumstances. We made the case, using substantial character evidence, that our client had matured significantly in the three (3) years following the second incident, and that no blackmail potential existed due to his wife’s knowledge of the situation. Ultimately, our efforts succeeded in proving that the client has been substantially rehabilitated and does not currently present a security risk. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “J” (May 24, 2017)

In this matter, we were privileged to represent a U.S. Army officer charged last year with one count of solicitation of prostitution. Although the criminal case was dismissed after our client completed community service, lingering questions regarding blackmail potential and other security concerns remained. We prepared a defense to the security allegations that clearly removed the potential for blackmail. We also contextualized the situation by providing evidence of the unique circumstances surrounding the arrest, the low likelihood of recurrence, and the voluminous “whole person” evidence that supported mitigation. As a result of our efforts, the government agreed to give our client a second chance. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (April 17, 2017)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor and military veteran denied a security clearance due to three instances of alleged child abuse (one of which resulted in an arrest) from pre-2012. Although the cases were stale, the government still expressed concern regarding our client’s judgment and his purported propensity for violence – especially in this post-Navy Yard / Fort Hood world. Recognizing those concerns, our attorneys moved swiftly to undertake a psychological evaluation of the client by a renowned expert in the field. That evaluation, combined with our extensive review of the prior cases, supported a defense that the client’s young age, emotional immaturity, and lack of parenting skills created the conditions for the abuse – not any underlying psychological defect. We worked with the client to present voluminous evidence of the client’s growth and maturation since 2012. That included evidence of counseling, parenting classes, and testimony from his wife regarding the transformation she witnessed since the client’s “wake-up call” of his 2012 arrest. These efforts were sufficient to persuade a judge that the client posed little risk of recurrent behavior. Security clearance granted.

U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT; GUIDELINES “E”, “J”, “B” and “H” (April 5, 2017)

In this matter we represented a U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID) employee accused of illegally traveling to Cuba, falsifying his security clearance application, maintaining a relationship with a foreign national, and using drugs while traveling abroad. What appeared at first blush to be a challenging case quickly fell apart upon scrutiny by our attorneys. Bigley Ranish, LLP Attorney Jeff Billett prepared an 87 page appeal package that highlighted numerous material inaccuracies in the government’s case, several egregious due process violations, and multiple misapplications of law. Only two (2) weeks after submitting the appeal, USAID conceded that the case against our client could not stand and dismissed all charges against him. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (March 22, 2017)

Our client in this matter was a decorated Special Forces soldier accused of lying about an employment-related incident during a routine security clearance re-investigation. We worked collaboratively with the client to gain a comprehensive understanding of the facts and obtain voluminous character evidence that rebutted any adverse inferences. Ultimately, we were successful in convincing DoD that the client’s omission was entirely reasonable, that the allegation itself was baseless, and that our client’s integrity was above reproach. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (February 13, 2017)

Our client in the first matter was a U.S. Air Force officer charged with numerous personal conduct violations pertaining to purported abuses of authority, inappropriate behavior, and false official statements. Our representation of this officer took us across multiple states and required aggressive efforts to uncover the truth: that the entire case against our client was baseless and unlawful retaliation for a personal dispute. Ultimately, our attorneys did just that, locating a “smoking gun” OIG file that substantiated literally all of the client’s claims. We backed that up with powerful testimony from multiple General Officers, plus expert witness testimony from a psychologist who addressed the extent to which an unresolved sexual assault had impacted our client’s behavior. The result was that the Air Force Personnel Security Appeals Board sided with our client and dropped all security charges against her. Clearance (and career) retained.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; GUIDELINES “E”, “J”, and “G” (January 12, 2017)

We represented a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent accused of incurring two DUI arrests and a litany of moving violations. Our attorneys analyzed the case and quickly determined that numerous mitigating factors existed: the DUI arrests were eight years apart, negating any allegation of a “pattern”; the most recent incident involved a BAC just marginally over the legal limit; our client had an exemplary track record of honorable government service; and, the majority of moving violations were legally invalid at the time they were issued.

We prepared an aggressive defense on these grounds and others. Our case was ultimately sufficient in obtaining a reversal of the initial revocation that had occurred when the applicant was represented previously by a different law firm. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “J” (September 12, 2016)

We were privileged to represent a disabled Department of Homeland Security employee wrongfully accused of assault with a deadly weapon. Our client was forced to endure the humiliation of a false arrest, followed by a security inquiry on the same incident from her employer. Bigley Ranish, LLP partners Sean Bigley and Jacob Ranish worked in tandem to litigate this unusual case. As a result of our aggressive efforts, we quickly resolved the security concerns against our client (the criminal charges had already been dismissed) and ensured her prompt return to full duty. Security clearance retained.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (August 9, 2016)

Our client in this matter was a U.S. Army Captain accused of a variety of professional misconduct under Guideline “E” of the National Adjudicative Guidelines for Security Clearances. Among other issues, the Captain was charged with acting inappropriately and creating a hostile workplace environment.

In our response to the Statement of Reasons we highlighted the gross lack of evidence supporting the allegations against our client. More broadly, we presented evidence from numerous prior employers that showed our client had an established history of workplace success and was well-respected by his peers. In the end, the government was forced to concede that the allegations were utterly baseless. The client won his case solely off our written SOR response, saving him the time and money that a hearing would have entailed. .

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (May 18, 2016)

Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee charged with DUI and refusing a breath test. We prepared a strong response to the Statement of Reasons, identifying numerous mitigating circumstances and the client’s otherwise unblemished record. The result was that DoD CAF agreed to withdraw the Statement of Reasons without the need for a hearing. Our client’s clearance was restored within a matter of weeks.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (April 12, 2016)

In this matter we represented a DoD employee accused of criminal threats and assault after an altercation with a taxi driver. Our experienced trial attorneys presented evidence of involuntary intoxication sufficient to vitiate intent. We then presented voluminous character evidence highlighting our client’s reputation for peacefulness, his extensive community involvement, and his positive workplace performance. The end result of the case was that our client was allowed to retain his security clearance and was returned to full duty.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (April 1, 2016)

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of threatening conduct with a firearm, a subsequent arrest for his actions, and intentionally omitting the arrest from his SF-86 form. We introduced evidence proving that the client’s actions with his firearm constituted a clear case of lawful self-defense and were entirely out of character. We then successfully argued that the client’s SF-86 omission was premised on a reasonable mistake, compounded with bad advice from his prior attorney. The result was that the client’s security clearance was reinstated and the client can return to full duty.

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (March 1, 2016)

In this matter we represented a decorated NSA employee accused of massive time card fraud. Following an investigation by Agency OIG agents, the client was alleged to have bilked the government out of $180,000 over two years.

In preparing a defense, Bigley Ranish, LLP partner Sean Bigley undertook a wide-ranging investigation that uncovered breathtaking incompetence by the government. Specifically: the government failed to interview our client’s supervisor and many colleagues who could have attested to his whereabouts; the government relied upon inaccurate and incomplete records; and the government failed to take even the most basic investigative steps to corroborate other highly relevant information. We prepared a devastating attack that left the government’s case against our client in tatters. Yet the Agency still refused to admit fault and upheld its denial decision without any explanation on initial review.

Bigley Ranish, LLP partner Jacob Ranish then appeared with the client at a PSAB hearing at NSA Headquarters. We orally presented our case, had our client testify, and highlighted the gross due process violation at issue: that the Agency was effectively demanding our client disprove allegations that the Agency itself had not proven. Ultimately, the PSAB Panel agreed with us and ruled in our client’s favor. 24 hours later, the client has been fully restored to active duty.

THE WHITE HOUSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “F” (February 29, 2016)

Our client in this matter is currently serving the President in a role requiring YW (Yankee White) clearance. The White House issued a Statement of Reasons alleging numerous instances of both civil debt and criminal conduct; an unfavorable adjudication would have meant immediate removal of the client from his position.

We mounted a strong defense on the applicable Guidelines and a positive “whole person” analysis. We showed that all debts have been sufficiently resolved and that there were both factual and legal issues mitigating the alleged criminal conduct. Accordingly, our client’s YW clearance was reinstated and he was allowed to retain his job.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “E” (February 26, 2016) 

Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor previously denied a security clearance by NSA (a case in which he was represented by another law firm). The allegations at issue – several self-reported petty thefts as a juvenile and young adult – were subsequently reported by NSA to DoD, causing fallout on the client’s collateral clearance.

We prepared a strong case that highlighted numerous mitigating factors and clear evidence of rehabilitation. After a hearing before a DOHA Judge, our sole income-earner / father-of-two client was allowed to retain his DoD security clearance and his job.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY; SUITABILITY CASE (February 18, 2016)

Our client – an IRS contractor – was accused of lying about prior marijuana use on his Form SF-85P. We prepared a strong response to the allegation that highlighted both the legitimate reason for the omission and the client’s broad track record of honesty and reliability. Within just 10 days, the Service agreed to rescind its proposed suitability debarment and restore our client to his position.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “G” (January 25, 2016)

Our client, a DoD contractor, was accused of marijuana usage and extensive illegal downloading of music. We aggressively countered the charges with numerous mitigating circumstances – so much so that the government decided to withdraw the Statement of Reasons before trial, saving our client significant time, money, and hassle. Clearance granted.

U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT; SUITABILITY CASE (October 28, 2015)

We represented a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent in disputing suitability allegations of past criminal conduct and alcohol abuse. Specifically, the ICE Agent was alleged to have driven while intoxicated, committed petty theft, and engaged in domestic violence.

Despite a challenging case on the surface, we prevailed with a thoughtful legal strategy that identified numerous mitigating factors for the DUI and the petty theft. The domestic violence allegation was debunked both on the facts and on a bizarre twist in state law that had been ruled unconstitutional shortly after the client’s arrest. The Agency rescinded all charges and the client was restored to full duty.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” and “F” (October 8, 2015)

Our client, a DoD contractor of 25 years, was charged under Guidelines “E” and “F” for allegedly accruing $58,000 in delinquent debt then lying about it during his background investigation. Based upon our expertly-crafted Statement of Reasons (SOR) response, the government conceded that the debt had been mitigated and that the dishonesty allegation was baseless. SOR withdrawn before trial and clearance retained.

NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY; GUIDELINES “D”, “J”, and “E” (August 10, 2015)

In this matter, we represented an NSA clearance holder in fighting horrifying criminal allegations. Purported admissions were falsely imputed to our client by the outrageous misconduct of an Agency polygraph examiner. To make our case, we were required to address head-on the faux “science” of the polygraph, which we did by using our deep technical expertise and the assistance of an expert witness. The result was an overturning of the denial decision at the first level.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY; GUIDELINE “E” (July 21, 2015)

In this matter, we represented a Treasury Department contractor accused of lying to the government about a prior security clearance denial. Using our advanced technical knowledge of the security clearance process, we proved that Treasury’s interpretation of the Client’s JPAS records was clearly erroneous. No prior denial had occurred; in fact, our Client was a patriotic veteran whose clearance had been administratively terminated upon an Honorable Discharge (in accordance with federal law). Our Client was cleared to begin work in just 5 days.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINES “E” and “J” (July 6, 2015)

We were pleased to represent a federal agent wrongfully accused of grand theft. This was a bizarre case that called into question the agent’s very suitability for federal employment. Fortunately, after extensive legal research we proved that no crime had actually occurred. Our client’s career, dignity, and security clearance were restored.

FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION; GUIDELINE “E” (June 13, 2015)

We were privileged to represent an FBI Special Agent and ex-Special Forces soldier accused of serious employment misconduct. Although the nature of this case precludes us from divulging details, we vindicated our client’s position, validated his strong integrity, and restored his career.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “E” (May 6, 2015)

Our client, a U.S. Service Member deployed abroad, was accused by the government of numerous substance abuse issues and falsifying his security clearance application to omit several arrests. We presented a devastatingly effective case that proved the client’s recruiter had falsified the paperwork without the client’s knowledge and that any issues with substance abuse were sufficiently mitigated. Clearance granted.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” AND “E” (April 8, 2015)

Our client, a decorated veteran, was accused of having a drinking problem that resulted in 5 DUI arrests over the past 20 years. He was also accused of intentionally failing to list those arrests on his SF-86 form. Despite a difficult case, we prevailed by proving that the client no longer had a drinking problem and that the SF-86 omission was inadvertent.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “E” AND “F” (March 17, 2015)

The government accused a DOD contractor of declaring bankruptcy and intentionally timing the bankruptcy so as to avoid reporting it during a scheduled re-investigation. Despite extensive government efforts to tarnish our client’s reputation, we prevailed on the evidence and got this parent of two children / sole income-earner promptly back to work.

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES; GUIDELINES “E” AND “F” (February 9, 2015)

Our client, an HHS employee, was alleged to be over $16,000 in debt and was accused of knowingly withholding that information from the government during a background investigation. Through a combination of both legal and factual arguments, we were able to prove that the employee only owed $45 of the total alleged debt. The employee paid the $45 debt and promptly received a favorable suitability determination, thereby saving a career.

*Each case is unique. Representations of past success are not a guarantee, warranty, or prediction of future results. Cases involving multiple guidelines are reported under each guideline.