30 Dec Army Dismisses Charges on SSG Pogany Case; Offers Article 15 Instead
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information contact:
Army Dismisses Charges on SSG Pogany Case; Offers Article 15 Instead
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — December 30, 2003 – Anderson & Travis announced today that dereliction of duty charges against SSG Pogany were dismissed by the Army on December 14, 2003. Instead, the Army offered SSG Pogany a hearing under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice on the charge of dereliction of duty. Under Article 15, the commander determines whether or not a soldier is guilty or innocent of the offense. A solider is provided a limited opportunity to produce evidence and witnesses on his behalf. A guilty finding at an Article 15 hearing is an administrative determination that can include loss of rank and pay as well as extra duty and restriction. Additionally, a guilty finding at an Article 15 hearing can be used as a basis to separate a soldier from the military.
In September, SSG Pogany volunteered for duty in Iraq. The day after his arrival, SSG Pogany suffered combat stress resulting, among other factors, from the sight of an Iraqi corpse. After requesting help from a chaplain and physician, SSG Pogany was told his reaction was completely normal. Days later he was sent home facing a charge of cowardice. The Army later reduced this charge to dereliction of duty, and then dismissed it, offering SSG Pogany the Article 15 instead. SSG Pogany turned down the Article 15 hearing because the same officer who forwarded the prior dereliction of duty charges to the Commanding General at Fort Carson with a recommendation that SSG Pogany be court-martialed for the offense would be the same officer that would conduct the Article 15 hearing.
At this time, the Army has not commented on what, if any, further actions it will take against SSG Pogany. Richard Travis & Wayne Anderson, SSG Pogany’s attorneys, stated, “we are grateful that SSG Pogany’s command dismissed the charge against him; however, we are concerned the delay in the final disposition of this case is causing SSG Pogany to suffer undue anxiety.”
SSG Pogany remains concerned that his case will have a chilling effect on other service members’ ability or desire to seek help for combat stress. SSG Pogany wants service members to know there are Combat Stress Teams available to help and suggests service members contact their chain of command or chaplain for more information on how they can access these services.
Media interested in additional details can call (719) 520-5011 for more information.
About Anderson and Travis LLC
Anderson & Travis LLC, a Colorado Springs law firm, is committed to seeking justice and providing skilled and aggressive representation to our clients. We provide quality legal services specializing in the areas of criminal law, military law, divorce/custody and personal injury.