Stephen, a Senior Associate, practices military law in Tully Rinckey PLLC’s Austin office. He zealously represents clients through all stages of courts-martial and administrative separation hearings, as well as advising clients on issues involving pre-trial investigations, Article 15s, and other adverse actions.
Prior to joining Tully Rinckey, Stephen served honorably as a judge advocate in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps for nearly 10 years, practicing in many areas of military law. In addition to his legal training at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, Stephen also attended and graduated from the U.S. Army Engineer School in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
After graduating from the U.S. Army JAG basic course, Stephen’s judge advocate career began in Heidelberg, Germany where he served in positions such as international and operational law attorney, administrative law attorney, and claims judge advocate for which his office was awarded the Judge Advocate General’s Excellence in Claims Award. He then deployed to Afghanistan as the legal advisor to the commander of Task Force Medical-Afghanistan in charge of all medical assets in country. While deployed, Stephen spearheaded an investigation into allegations of unauthorized live-tissue training on local animals that resulted in a massive overhaul of the U.S. Army’s policy and regulation of such practices in Afghanistan. Upon redeployment, Stephen spent one year at Fort Hood, Texas as a contract law attorney before deploying again in support of the Army’s contracting mission in Afghanistan.
After returning from his second deployment, Stephen became a trial defense attorney for Southwest Region Trial Defense Services in Fort Hood, Texas, the most active court-martial jurisdiction in the Army, where, in only two years, he represented over 50 clients going through the court-martial process and more than 25 clients at administrative separation hearings. He won multiple full acquittals, including in a case where a co-accused had already been convicted and sentenced to five years in military prison, and he successfully negotiated case dismissals and plea deals in more than 30 others. One of Stephen’s more senior clients was a soldier with over 20 years of active duty service facing the potential loss of his retirement pension. Over the prosecution’s objection, Stephen convinced a military judge to allow his client to continue serving on active duty with his retirement intact. Another one of Stephen’s clients was a warrant officer with over 17 years of service facing very serious allegations that could have potentially sent the officer to prison for the rest of his life. The officer vehemently denied the allegations. The prosecution preferred charges and attempted to court-martial the warrant officer, but Stephen got the case dismissed on statutory grounds prior to referral. The prosecution then decided to send the warrant officer to a board of inquiry and argued for separation with an Other Than Honorable discharge. After presenting the warrant officer’s case and arguing before a board of senior commissioned officers, the board found that the warrant officer was innocent of all misconduct, and he was allowed to resume his career. Stephen finished his military career at Fort Eustis, Virginia as a chief of military justice in charge of leading and developing a team of military prosecutors as well as standing up a new general court-martial convening authority.
Stephen earned his law degree from Willamette University College of Law in Salem, Oregon and undergraduate degrees in economics and business administration, cum laude, from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he was a four year participant and graduate of the U.S. Army’s ROTC Program.
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