Kevin celebrated 30 years of military trial work with the successful conclusion of the United States District Court trial United States v. Jose Luis Nazario on August 29, 2008. This trial concluded the first attempt ever by U.S. prosecutors to use a federal statue, Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act or MEJA, to prosecute service members for conduct in a battle space. It was not, however, the first time Kevin came to the aid of his fellow Marine and with the engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, Kevin has had no shortage of opportunity.
After graduation from college, Kevin accepted a commission as an officer in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. After officer boot camp, Kevin entered law school and graduated in 1980, serving on active during summer breaks of school as a military prosecutor. Upon completion of Naval Justice School in Newport Rhode Island in 1981 he was transferred to El Toro Marine Corp Air Base in Orange County and began serving as a Judge Advocate, starting with a stint as a prosecutor. Within the first 18 months, he tried in excess of 100 contested cases to include murder, espionage and drug trafficking. In 1983 he transferred to the defense section and took over the billet of senior defense counsel and defended Marines for a wide variety of offenses. While as a defense counsel and in concert with three other defense counsel, to include his guest presenter, Dan Marino, Kevin initiated an upheaval of the Marine Corps defense structure. To that point, Marine Corps defense was the only branch of the service that did not have an independent defense structure. Until Kevin and his fellow counsel came along, the performance evaluations and the budgets of the defense were controlled by senior prosecutors and that caused significant tactical and ethical problems for defense counsel. With the assistance of Congressional hearings and intense media scrutiny, the Marine Corps now has an independent defense command and has had one since 1984.
Kevin left active duty in 1985 and has been in private practice in Orange County since 1985. While in private practice, Kevin has continued to take on military cases, particularly those of significance to the military and, as with Jose Nazario, on a pro bono basis. Of particular recent note, Kevin represented the company commander whose men were accused by Time magazine in 2006 of the massacre of civilians and subsequent cover up in the Iraqi town of Hadithah. Kevin's client was exonerated and evidence uncovered during his investigation revealed that the allegations were both overblown and false. The tide in that case turned with the publication by Vanity Fair of its September 2006 article entitled "Rules of Engagement." That article, prompted and supported Kevin, questioned not only the facts of the case but the fairness of the investigation.
In the Nazario case, Kevin dealt with a myriad of issues, perhaps most importantly, the application of the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act, a statue enacted into law in 2000. It purports to extend federal jurisdiction over service members and defense contractors for acts occurring anywhere in the world. It is the statue being applied to several Blackwater employees currently in the news. Sgt. Jose Nazario was a squad leader of Marines during the battle of Fallujah in 2005 accused of killing prisoners. At the time of hi arrest, Nazario was working as a police officer for the Riverside PD. As lead counsel, Kevin enlisted the services of fellow counsel, to include Joseph Preis, whose national law firm agreed to provide support. While the defense team was unsuccessful in convincing the Court that the statue was unconstitutional, the defense did prevail on the merits of the case after a two week trial and six hours of jury deliberation.
For those who have worked with Kevin, they have come to understand that his most significant trait is doggedness. Once he determines to take on a matter or a client, he will succeed no matter how long it may take. There is no such thing as "quit" in his vernacular.
And through it all, Kevin has had the unwavering support of his wife Lauren and his children Brian and Kerrie. Lauren, more than anyone, understands the concept of "trial law as a jealous mistress" and how family and friends must stand back while the battle is engaged.