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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (April 13, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of smoking marijuana on a single occasion in 2015 shortly after being granted a security clearance. The government had already scheduled a DOHA hearing when the client retained us for representation. Our attorneys quickly evaluated the case, established strong mitigation, and approached the government for a pre-trial deal. We conceded on behalf of our client that his singular use of marijuana was a lapse of judgment; however, we prepared and presented a significant body of mitigating evidence and case law that weighed in our client’s favor. As a result of our aggressive and timely efforts, the government agreed to cancel the looming hearing and withdraw the case against our client. Total time elapsed: 24 hours. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (March 1, 2017)
In this matter, we represented a DoD contractor accused of using marijuana sporadically over a period of roughly a decade, ending in 2015. The client prepared his response to the Statement of Reasons pro se (without an attorney) and retained our services for a subsequent DOHA hearing. Our attorneys worked with the client pre-hearing to establish a strong case for mitigation. Ultimately, we were able to convince the government that our client posed a low risk for recurrent marijuana use — and to withdraw the case against our client without the need for a hearing. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; SUITABILITY CASE (February 25, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) attorney accused of being unsuitable for employment based upon weekly marijuana use from 2009 – 2013 and use of hallucinogenic mushrooms on several occasions. Bigley Ranish, LLP attorney Aileen Xenakis prepared a strong defense that highlighted a favorable provision in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and addressed the client’s substantial rehabilitation post-2013. Although DHS had initially proposed to terminate our client’s employment, our efforts resulted in both a reversal of that decision and a favorable security determination.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (February 6, 2017)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor charged with extensive use of marijuana and infrequent misuse of prescription drugs until 2014. The government alleged that our client presented a current security risk, but we challenged that assertion with a significant body of evidence that showed our client’s maturation and disavowal of drug use in the last several years. Notably, we showed that the drug use was confined to the college environment and, as a young professional, the client’s life circumstances are now dramatically different. Our defense culminated with a favorable opinion by a licensed, independent drug expert who had evaluated the client. The totality of that evidence was sufficient to convince a judge that our client poses no security risk. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “H” (January 12, 2017)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a U.S. Department of Homeland Security employee accused of using illegal drugs (marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy) on a few occasions a year before being hired by her agency. Although the recency of use was a challenge, we prepared a strong defense that highlighted the isolated nature of the conduct, the unusual circumstances surrounding it, and a strong whole person analysis that evidenced favorable integrity and other personal traits. We cemented our defense with the assistance of an independent, licensed drug expert who evaluated the client and prepared a favorable medical report. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “G” (December 24, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a senior U.S. service member accused of presenting a security risk due to purported alcoholism. Although our client conceded to drinking in excess during his younger years, he had addressed the matter successfully at that time. More recently, he drank only in great moderation and after an extended period of abstention. Despite a complete lack of factual basis for concern, rumors and innuendo about our client resulted in an unfavorable command-directed alcohol evaluation. That’s when we first got involved.
Almost immediately, our attorneys determined that serious improprieties occurred in the way the military was handling our client’s case. We suspected undue influence was being exerted by the client’s command over a supposedly independent alcohol evaluator. These suspicions were confirmed by our own expert, who opined that the military evaluator had committed malpractice in her assessment of the client. We then presented extensive evidence in rebuttal of the allegations, as well as a strong whole-person analysis despite continued efforts by the client’s command to sabotage his case. Ultimately, our client was stunned when we won his case – and obliterated his command’s efforts to railroad him out of the service – at the first stage.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “H” (December 20, 2016)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a DHS headquarters employee accused of using marijuana in violation of security regulations. Our attorneys aggressively attacked the allegations, showing that the employee’s use was in response to a highly unusual situation; that there was no history of similar misconduct; and that recurrent use was highly unlikely. We cemented our defense by showing that the employee reasonably believed she was acting within the law due to recent legalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia and DHS’s own failure to adequately publicize contrary rules. Security Clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (December 14, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of presenting a security risk due to past experimentation with marijuana. The circumstances of this case were highly (pun intended) unusual – and we leveraged that to the client’s advantage by presenting extensive evidence of the client’s subsequent maturation and remorse. At trial, we successfully convinced a judge that the client’s past marijuana use was no longer a security concern. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “E” (December 13, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD civilian employee accused of presenting a security risk due to excessive consumption of alcohol, a DUI arrest, and making false statements to federal investigators. Although this case appeared challenging initially, our attorneys attacked it with the same vigor we have become known for by opposing counsel. With only a written response to the Statement of Reasons (SOR) we were able to debunk several of the government’s key allegations and provide mitigating context for the others. As a result of our extensive efforts, the government conceded that the case against our client could not withstand scrutiny. The SOR was withdrawn without the need for a hearing. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (December 8, 2016)
We represented a DoD contractor accused of smoking marijuana with varying frequency from 2008 until 2013, including during a period where he held a public trust position. We promptly had our client evaluated by a licensed, independent drug expert who concluded that the client posed little to no risk of recurrent behavior. That diagnosis, combined with our extensive “whole person” defense and other supporting evidence, was sufficient to convince a judge that our client is not likely to ever use illegal drugs again. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (November 25, 2016)
In this matter, we were privileged to represent a DoD contractor accused of using marijuana from 2008 – 2010 after being granted a security clearance. The client retained us post-SOR for representation in a DOHA hearing. We worked collaboratively with the client to prepare a strong “whole person” defense that highlighted the numerous favorable life and lifestyle changes the client has implemented since 2010, her overall maturation, and her sincere remorse. We also raised relevant DOHA case law on the issue of mitigation by time. So strong was our defense that the judge – with no objection from the government – opted to issue a summary decision in favor of our client. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (November 23, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of using marijuana for nearly a decade and until as late as July 2015. A separate allegation charged that our client’s period of usage included time that he held a security clearance.
Although this case initially appeared challenging, our attorneys attacked the government’s evidence and identified numerous factual inaccuracies – including the fact that our client’s date of last usage was actually 2011, not 2015 as alleged. We then offered a strong case for mitigation, highlighting the numerous life and lifestyle changes our client had experienced since that time, and his obvious maturation. In the end, the client’s nominal expenditure on legal representation for the SOR response paid-off enormously: the government withdrew the case without the need for a hearing, saving the client time, money, and stress in the long-run. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; GUIDELINES “H” and “E” (September 19, 2016)
We were pleased to represent a State Department diplomat accused of using marijuana and omitting that use from security clearance forms. With the assistance of an expert witness, we prepared a strong defense that highlighted several compelling and mitigating circumstances in this case. Ultimately, we convinced the Department that our client had matured significantly since the incidents, and that both the drug use and the omission were mitigated by the totality of other favorable evidence we presented. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (August 25, 2016)
We represented a DoD contractor charged with using and purchasing marijuana with varying frequency from 2003 – February, 2015. We prepared a detailed response to the Statement of Reasons (SOR) that addressed the compelling reason the client stopped using marijuana and highlighted the multitude of positive lifestyle changes the client has implemented in the last year. We cemented our case by having our client evaluated by a licensed, independent substance abuse expert who found the client to be at low risk for recurrent use. Ultimately, the government decided to withdraw the SOR and grant the client’s security clearance without even a hearing.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G”, “H”, and “J” (August 18, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor working overseas. He was accused of using marijuana, misusing Valium, and being arrested for DWI in 2014 – all after being granted a security clearance. At a hearing before a DOHA judge, we presented a strong case for mitigation. Our case highlighted the unique circumstances of the client’s troubles in 2014; his subsequent growth and maturation; and, several positive steps he has taken to avoid a repeat. We also addressed inconsistencies in the government’s case that rendered certain allegations legally unsupportable. In the end, the judge agreed to give our client the benefit of the doubt and restore his security clearance – thereby allowing the client to continue in his profession.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “H” and “J” (August 16, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD contractor accused of using a plethora of illegal drugs (and misusing prescription drugs) from 2005-2011. Those drugs included marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, mushrooms, Xanax, Aderall, and Vicodin. The client was also arrested in 2006 for theft and in 2011 for public intoxication.
Despite what appeared initially to be a challenging case, we worked extensively with the client to mount a strong defense centering on his obvious self-reformation in the last five years. We had the client evaluated by an independent substance abuse expert, which resulted in a favorable finding of “no treatment currently needed.” We presented considerable positive character evidence and highlighted the major changes which have occurred in the client’s life that impact his future outlook on criminal behavior and drug usage – specifically, marriage and fatherhood. Ultimately, a judge agreed with us that the client has outgrown his past behavior and learned from his mistakes. Security clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “J” (July 7, 2016)
Our client in this matter was a DoD employee accused of incurring a 2009 public intoxication charge, a 2013 DUI arrest, and a 2012 diagnosis of alcohol dependency. Allegations were presented under both Adjudicative Guidelines “G” and “J”.
The client unsuccessfully represented himself in responding to the Statement of Reasons. He then turned to Bigley Ranish, LLP for representation during a DOHA hearing. We prepared a strong case that highlighted mitigating circumstances at the time of the client’s past alcohol problems. More importantly, however, we established clear evidence that the client had acknowledged his problems with alcohol, rehabilitated himself through treatment, and was committed to a lifestyle of sobriety. The Personnel Security Appeals Board (PSAB) agreed with us, imposing only a stipulation that the client continue attending AA meetings for 1 year. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (June 15, 2016)
In this matter, we represented a DoD contractor accused of purchasing and using marijuana over a roughly three year period ending early 2015. We prepared a strong response to the client’s Statement of Reasons (SOR), identifying numerous mitigating factors and highlighting the clients personal growth and maturation since his last use. So strong was our defense that the government opted to simply withdraw the SOR and grant the client his security clearance without the need for a hearing.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY; CRITERION “J” (June 6, 2016)
We represented a U.S. Department of Energy employee accused of driving a motor vehicle while intoxicated and on duty. Subsequent investigation led to the additional allegation that the employee was a habitual alcohol abuser. Despite what initially appeared to be a challenging case, we worked extensively with the client to obtain favorable character evidence, as well as evidence of his rehabilitation. We involved an expert medical witness to evaluate the client and provide testimony at the hearing before a DOE Administrative Judge. As a result of our efforts, the government’s own expert witness – a psychiatrist who had also evaluated the client – testified that his concerns about the client had abated, that the client has shown satisfactory progress, and that the client was unlikely to relapse. Security clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “E” (May 27, 2016)
Our client, a DoD contractor, was accused of incurring two (2) DUI’s during 2013, both of which involved excessively high blood alcohol content (BAC). We responded to the SOR, but the government still had concerns. So we then went to trial before a DOHA Judge and presented a strong case for mitigation – namely, that the client’s mother was kidnapped in 2013 in a foreign country and the client was forced to negotiate a ransom payment for her life. These shocking details were verified by the FBI. We presented character witnesses, strong evidence of the client’s otherwise healthy lifestyle, and finally the testimony of a medical expert that addressed the high likelihood that PTSD was at issue in the DUI’s. The Judge ultimately agreed that the DUI’s were directly tied to the unusual stress the client experienced in 2013 – not evidence of an alcohol problem. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE; SUITABILITY CASE (May 12, 2016)
Our client in this matter – a U.S. State Department applicant – was accused of being unsuitable for federal employment (per 5 C.F.R. 731.202) based upon past experimentation with marijuana and a singular incident of excessive alcohol consumption. The client was also accused of intentionally falsifying the SF-86 form by omitting these details.
We presented a strong written appeal that highlighted numerous mitigating factors surrounding the substance abuse. We then attacked the falsification allegations by addressing the ambiguity in certain SF-86 questions and presenting character evidence context. The result was a reversal of the suitability decision within just days.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (May 10, 2016
We represented a DoD contractor accused of illegal drug use; namely, marijuana, Adderall (without a prescription), and mushrooms. The client was also charged with intentionally falsifying her SF-86 by omitting this information.
We presented a strong case for mitigation that highlighted the circumstances surrounding the falsification, as well as the client’s maturation and personal growth since the incident. Using the assistance of an expert substance abuse therapist, we succeeded in convincing the government that the client was not at risk of relapse for drug abuse. In the end, the government opted to withdraw the SOR and grant the client’s clearance without even the need for a hearing.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE; GUIDELINE “H” (March 1, 2016)
In this matter we represented a U.S. Department of Justice attorney accused of misusing prescription drugs and failing a drug test. We presented a strong case for mitigation – namely, evidence that: a major personal tragedy precipitated the drug use; the attorney deeply regretted the conduct and has taken concrete steps to avoid a recurrence; and, there was no evidence of addiction. As a result of our aggressive advocacy, our client’s security clearance was reinstated and the client was able to retain a well-respected role at DOJ.
U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION; GUIDELINES “H” and “E” (February 1, 2016)
In this matter we represented a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) employee wrongfully accused of drug involvement and of lying repeatedly on prior SF-86 forms. We aggressively attacked the government’s case, highlighting numerous inaccuracies in the investigation and a litany of due process violations. Ultimately, our deep technical expertise allowed us to prepare a devastatingly effective line of attack that forced the government to withdraw all charges and return our client to full duty. Our client summed the result up best: “I have been told by multiple people that no one has seen anyone in my department come back to work after receiving the letter I did.”
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (January 27, 2016)
We were pleased to represent a decorated U.S. Army Major accused of consuming marijuana and mushrooms while holding a security clearance. We effectively rebutted several of the allegations and employed numerous mitigating factors to dispose of the rest. The case was won solely off a response to the Statement of Reasons and the client was able to retain his clearance.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (December 22, 2015)
Our client in this matter was charged with using numerous drugs – Ecstasy, Adderall, Marijuana, and Cocaine – from 2008 to 2014. Despite what appeared to be a difficult case, we prevailed by presenting an even stronger case for mitigation. Our case was further bolstered by testimony from a licensed, independent Substance Abuse Professional that proved the client’s drug usage was no longer a security concern. The Statement of Reasons was withdrawn by the government without the need for a hearing.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “H” and “E” (December 20, 2015)
Our client in this matter was charged with using marijuana from 2011-2013 and intentionally omitting that usage from a 2013 SF-86 form. We established significant mitigating evidence regarding the marijuana usage and proved that chapter in the client’s life was behind him. With respect to the issue of candor, we presented compelling evidence that the client’s lapse of judgment was a one-time mistake — not evidence of a deeper character flaw. The Statement of Reasons was withdrawn by the government without the need for a hearing.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “G” (December 3, 2015)
In this matter, we represented a DoD Contractor accused of DUI, obtaining a medical diagnosis of alcohol dependency, and continuing to drink after that diagnosis. We aggressively challenged the government’s case by highlighting numerous mitigating factors for the DUI. We then established that our client was previously unaware of his diagnosis and that – even if he had been – the diagnosis was outdated and no longer scientifically relevant. An evaluation from our independent, licensed substance abuse professional put the final nail in the government’s case. The SOR was withdrawn and the clearance granted without the need for a trial.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “H” (November 19, 2015)
Our client was charged with drug usage under Guideline “H” – specifically, purchasing and using marijuana repeatedly for several years until December 2013. We offered an aggressive defense that highlighted the recreational nature of the prior usage, the lack of any addiction, and – most importantly – the sincere, positive lifestyle changes our client has implemented over the last two years. Testimony from our licensed addiction specialist was used to drive those points home. Clearance granted.
U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION; SUITABILITY CASE (November 16, 2015)
In this matter, we represented a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employee fighting suitability charges of alcohol abuse and criminal conduct. Specifically, the Agency alleged concerns of DUI and driving on a suspended license.
We utilized an expert witness to prove that the client was not an alcoholic. We then aggressively attacked both charges with mitigating circumstances that proved no security risk existed. The result was that the Agency rescinded the charges within two weeks.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “G” (November 6, 2015)
We represented a U.S. Marine Corps NCO charged with multiple counts of Guideline “G”: DUI, fleeing arrest, resisting arrest, and disobeying a lawful order — all allegedly establishing a pattern of alcoholism. We prevailed on the merits by proving that the DUI was an anomaly and that the other charges were the result of overly aggressive policing – not our client’s actions. We were even successful in obtaining a concession from the client’s command that the client had, in fact, not been aware of the lawful order at issue. The result was that the Statement of Reasons was rescinded and our client’s security clearance was restored.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINE “G” (October 29, 2015)
In this matter, we represented a Department of Defense contractor previously denied a clearance by DoD in 2005. The reason for the denial was alcohol abuse – specifically: a minor in possession charge; an underage consumption charge; and two (2) DUI’s.
Using our extensive experience and the assistance of an expert witness, we successfully advocated for the reinstatement of our client’s security clearance. We applied multiple mitigating factors to show that the applicant’s alcohol abuse was a thing of the past and that his decade of sobriety vitiated any risks to national security.
NATIONAL RECONNAISSANCE OFFICE; GUIDELINES “G”, “H”, and “E” (October 5, 2015)
The client in this case was accused of prior marijuana use, consuming alcohol to excess (2 arrests), and lying about a prior employment termination. We used our expert technical knowledge to show that some of the allegations were derived from an improperly scoped investigation, thus rendering them inadmissible. We then employed several strong legal arguments to provide context and negate relevancy for the remaining issues. Initial denial overturned on appeal.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “H” and “J” (August 28, 2015)
We represented a defense contractor and veteran accused of issues pertaining to prior marijuana usage. Using a variety of proven legal techniques plus the assistance of one of our expert witnesses — a Ph.D. scientist specializing in behavioral pharmacology at one of the most respected universities in the world — we successfully mitigated all concerns. So strong was our case, that the government actually withdrew the Guideline “J” allegation at the start of the hearing. Clearance granted.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE; GUIDELINES “G” and “I” (August 24, 2015)
Our client in this case — a Facility Security Officer (FSO) for a defense contractor — was accused of alcoholism and severe mental health disorders. With the assistance of two expert witnesses, we: rebutted the opinion of the government’s own psychiatrist, proved that the Client’s alcoholism is in full, sustained remission; and proved that the mental health problems were a byproduct of the alcohol abuse – not independent issues. Clearance retained.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINES “G” and “H” (August 6, 2015)
Our client, a DHS contractor, was accused of alcohol and drug abuse issues that allegedly made him unfit for employment in a sensitive position. Using our broad experience in substance abuse cases, we prepared a highly effective written appeal that resulted in an overturning of the preliminary decision within days.
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 STATE; GUIDELINE “H” (April 20, 2015)
Our client, a U.S. diplomat, was accused of having a history of drug usage that made him unsuitable for employment in a sensitive position. We appealed the determination to the Foreign Service Appeals Board, mitigated all the government’s concerns, and the client was promptly re-instated.
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 TRANSPORTATION; GUIDELINE “G” (February 24, 2015)
The government accused a U.S. Department of Transportation employee of having a serious substance abuse problem, such that the employee’s suitability for federal employment was called into question. We won our case solely on expertly-crafted responses to interrogatories; no formal hearing was necessary. Total time for resolution? 1 week.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY; GUIDELINE “G” (February 23, 2015)
Our client, a CBP employee, was accused by the government of having a serious substance abuse problem. Based upon unsubstantiated allegations of alcohol-related misconduct in the workplace, the employee’s security clearance had been summarily suspended nearly a year ago pending investigation. We intervened on the employee’s behalf, and just 5 DAYS LATER all allegations against the employee were dropped and the security clearance was reinstated.
*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.