News: Navy Senior Officers Vote 3-0 to Retain C&J Client Lt. David Nartker
// Apr 24, 2017
On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, a three member separation panel for the United States Navy voted unanimously to retain C&J client Lieutenant David Nartker, rejecting recommendations from commanders to discharge Lt. Nartker from the Navy. Lt. Nartker had been under investigation by the Navy following an incident in January 2016 when he and ten other sailors under his command, who were transiting over 260 miles through the Persian Gulf, unknowingly strayed into Iranian waters. Following an investigation, the Navy sought to take certain steps to punish Lt. Nartker, including criminal punishment, as well as discharge from the Navy. Lt. Nartker's counsel, led by C&J attorney Phillip E. Lowry, demanded court martial rather than to allow the criminal charges against Lt. Nartker to proceed. In response, the Navy amended its charges against Lt. Nartker, and Lt. Nartker agreed to proceed to nonjudicial punishment on three of the original 12 charges against him.
The punishment imposed on Lt. Nartker set the scene for a two-day hearing in front of a three-officer separation panel in San Diego, California to determine whether Lt. Nartker would be allowed to remain in the Navy. At the hearing, Lt. Nartker was represented by Mr. Lowry, Navy counsel Lt. Allan Thorson, and C&J associate Bryson Brown. Following the two-day hearing, where the three-officer panel focused mostly on the 780-page report the Navy had prepared, the three-officer panel voted 3-0 to retain Lt. Nartker.
In an interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Mr. Lowry said, "It’s an exoneration by the rank and file of the Navy. His peers have looked at this, and they have decided that this doesn't warrant separation, they want to keep him as a colleague." When asked about Lt. Nartker's future, Mr. Lowry told the Navy Times that, "We don’t know how he’ll be reassigned or when — the Navy personnel machine has to figure that out — but essentially the flag will be removed and he’ll continue on with his career."
To read more about Lt. Nartker's story, as well as the tremendous efforts set forth by C&J attorneys Phil Lowry and Bryson Brown, read here and here.