Defending Courts-Martial & Administrative Separations

Stephen H. Carpenter, Jr., 

is a military law expert whose firm exclusively focuses on aggressively defending military members. He has been ranked in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 by one ranking service as one of the top three civilian military defense lawyers in the United States. He has been in private practice for over 18-years, where he has been lead defense counsel in military criminal investigations, trials and boards. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Defense selected Stephen to serve as civilian counsel before the Military Commissions located at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Carpenter maintains a security clearance.

He regularly represents uniformed members in Article 32 investigations and during court-martial trials and appeals. His company also represents uniformed members in adverse administrative hearings, as well as during informal and formal command investigations.

When not appearing before military courts and administrative boards, Mr. Carpenter lectures about military justice. He was invited to speak at the 2010 Western United States Military Defense Conference which focused on the Defense of Military Sexual Assault Cases.

Stephen has published several articles on military justice, including: Federal Criminal Practice: A Military Justice Primer; A PTSD Primer: When Good Soldiers Do Bad Things; Resolving the Torture Memo Conundrum by Court-Martial; Guantanamo 101: Rejecting Cruel, Unusual and Degrading Justice; Military Commissions: Justice Guantanamo Style; Defending Gay Soldiers Who Defend America; and Blessed are the Peacemakers: Remembering Kosovo.

Stephen has previously served as an adjunct professor in trial advocacy at the University of Washington, School of Law. He has also taught effective oral advocacy techniques for the Attorney General’s Office, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, American Bar Association and Seattle Academy.

In 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice certified Mr. Carpenter in criminal trial advocacy after he attended a course at the National Advocacy Center in South Carolina.

Stephen has formerly served as an Assistant Attorney General for the State of Washington where he assisted appellate government lawyers prepare for oral and written arguments. He has likewise judged law student appellate competitions at the University of Washington, School of Law. Mr. Carpenter formerly prosecuted, over a two year period, scores of Washington State physicians, psychologists and dentists for professional malpractice. Mr. Carpenter succeded in persuading the disciplinary boards comprised of medical professionals, in each and every case he prosecuted, that discipline was warranted.

When not zealously advocating for clients and teaching younger minds, Mr. Carpenter dedicates time to a myriad of legislative issues associated with the legal rights of service members. For instance, he serves as the Chair of the Washington State Bar Section’s Legal Assistance to Military Personnel (LAMP). He is likewise a member of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the International Law Sections of the Washington State Bar Association.

Educational and Military Background

  • University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon School of Law, J.D., 1995
  • University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia School of Government and Foreign Affairs, B.A., 1990
  • U.S. Army JAG School, Officer Basic Course, 1999
  • U.S. Marine Corps, Officer Candidate School, 1993
  • U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Trial Advocacy School, 2004

Legal Memberships

  • The Judge Advocate General's Association
  • National Institute of Military Justice
  • Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Criminal Law Section, Washington State Bar Association (WSBA)
  • International Law Section, WSBA
  • Legal Assistance for Military Personnel Section
  • American Bar Association

Prior Military Service Awards

  • Army Commendation Medal (2nd award)
  • Army Achievement Medal, Army Overseas Ribbon
  • NATO medal
  • Kosovo Campaign Medal
  • National Defense Service Medal (2nd award)
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
  • Army Service Ribbon
  • Former Service Related Coins (including coin from current Army Chief of Staff)

Federal and State Court Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
  • Federal District Court of Oregon
  • Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Washington
  • Oregon State Bar
  • Washington State Bar
  • Army Court of Criminal Appeals
  • Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims

Trial Advocacy Faculty/Lecturer Seminars

  • Essential Trial Skills Lecturer, Litigation Section American Bar Association;
  • Adjunct Lecturer, Trial Advocacy Program, University of Washington, School of Law
  • Trial Skills Lecturer, The National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Deposition Skills Lecturer, The National Institute for Trial Advocacy
  • Mock Trial Mentor, Seattle Academy, H.S. Mock Trial Team
  • Defending Murder Cases, USATDS
  • The Use of Impeachment in Sexual Assault Cases, USTDS
  • Polygraph Examinations from a Defense Perspective, USATDS