PROSE”: “the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing.” – Merriam Webster
Combat research and prose is an Arizona-based sole proprietorship. Its principal researcher is Charles L. K. Bloeser, M.A., J.D., a researcher whose published and still cited works begin in 1992. He’s licensed to practice law by the Supreme Court of Tennessee, U.S.A. First serving as an assistant district attorney in the State of Oklahoma, his career in the courts has been spent in criminal trial, appeal, and post-conviction cases in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including certiorari practice before the Supreme Court of the United States. More detail is at: https://combatresearchandprose.com/about-this-researcher/
Support staff isn’t needed at this stage, and it’s anticipated that collaborations with other researchers can be secured on a volunteer or independent contractor basis. Combat research and prose will not engage in the provision of direct services.
Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mobile: 520.306.6888 (USA)
This research initiative seeks funding to support the applied research and writing activities described below. More details follow this description of combatresearchandprose.com.
Recent publications, current projects and future applied research activities:
“Combat Translation Project”
“Combat Translation Project”: ongoing multi-product “research +” activity in support of bridging – among members of relevant policy crowds – an existing chasm in experience, knowledge, and understanding which divides the 93% of persons who’ve never served in the Armed Forces from the seven percent who have (U.S. data).
Objective: provide to members of the national security/defense /veterans policy crowds top-shelf research products that assist their efforts to make informed and intelligent decisions on matters that affect those who’ve served in the United States military as well as in the military services of U.S. allies, and these service members’ families.
Here are three examples of “combat translation” products:
STRIFE, a dual-format publication from the Department of War Studies, Kings College London, published in August 2018 the account of a now-deceased client, a combat-wounded veteran who fell between the cracks of a modern jail after his latest arrest for PTS-related domestic violence. http://www.strifeblog.org/2018/08/02/henry-a-wounded-soldier-forgotten-by-all-in-an-american-jail-by-all-except-his-brothers-who-fell-beside-him-in-vietnam
The second example of this researcher’s combat-translation work examines why the United States and her allies need special operations forces. It does so through the life and service of fallen “Delta Force” special operator Josh Wheeler, a Cherokee Indian from Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, who enlisted in the U.S. Army one month after the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Two hours west of where U.S. Army Master Sergeant Joshua L. Wheeler was born and raised. https://combatresearchandprose.com/2018/07/07/in-2018-we-still-need-our-warriors/
The third example of “combat translation” work comes from an article in progress. The research product introduces civilians to today’s combat-related wounds through an autopsy of trauma experienced by Allied airmen flying bombing runs over occupied Europe during World War II. https://combatresearchandprose.com/2018/08/24/a-cure-for-ptsd-swift-efficient-soul-stealing/
Foster kids / military family applied research project:
2 components – new research article and proposed model legislative language
Child welfare services across the United States remove children from their homes after state authorities conclude that one or more children is in immediate danger of harm. “Harm” is generally defined as abuse or neglect. A recent report from the National Conference of State Legislatures reports that “just over 415,000 children and youth in the U.S. currently reside in foster care.”
Child welfare workers are not generally required to place children from military families with military foster families.
While, generally speaking, child welfare agencies prefer to place children with suitable family members nearby, that’s seldom possible when children are removed from military families stationed far from home.
Researcher has just completed a substantive new research product that examines challenges and successes of foster kids who enter military service, as well as the threats to keeping military families together, especially during and after deployments.
Pursuant to recent discussions with legislative experts who’ve repeatedly demonstrated success in getting the states to adopt proposed model legislation, researcher is now drafting for their consideration proposed state and federal legislative language intended to keep military children clothed, fed, sheltered, and safe while increasing the likelihood that state child welfare authorities and the courts will reunite military children with their past and present service member parents.
Researcher’s role as a participant in America’s “foster-child system”
The author’s responsibilities in criminal and civil matters while serving as an assistant district attorney for the State of Oklahoma were, among others:
(a) reviewing child welfare reports to determine which warranted applications for judicial child removal orders and possible criminal prosecution;
(b) representing the State’s interests in civil “deprived child” actions arising from these cases, as well as in civil cases alleging actions by minors that, if done by an adult, would be criminal offenses and subject to prosecution;
(c) learning whether a crime committed against or by a child occurred on land and under circumstances that authorized the State of Oklahoma to act (the judicial district I served is a patchwork of jurisdictions that include a number of Indian tribes and in which the land that the State couldn’t touch might be no bigger than the lot where the crimes occurred);
(d) primary assistant D.A. on call to respond to ER, courthouse, or other locations in order to seek, if necessary, order from the judge authorizing the emergency commitment of persons deemed danger to self or others, an order which, in the absence of suitable family, resulted in kids going into foster care;
(e) took turns with other assistant D.A.’s on call to respond to scenes of suicide and other deaths when requested by law enforcement;
(f) on occasion, participating in case conferencing with other relevant actors re children placed in the custody of child services and perhaps housed in foster homes; and
(g) serving as the District Attorney’s representative at some of the informal foster parent gatherings held in that judicial district.
Regardless of which side I’ve represented over the years, America’s foster system has always insisted on showing up, either openly or by lurking in the shadows in cases involving:
(a) criminal defendants, appellants, and petitioners who had been removed from their homes as children due to abuse, neglect or a parent’s inability to keep them housed, fed, and in school;
(b) clients whose children had been removed for any or all of the same reasons and who had not been reunited with their kids;
(c) persons arrested, charged and sometimes previously convicted for committing crimes against children, including sex crimes, assault, criminal neglect, and homicide; and
(d) persons who insisted on pleading guilty to crimes they didn’t commit or which the State couldn’t have proven at trial, under threat that child services would be sent into the home to remove their children if they did not plead guilty.
Foster kids / military family applied research project: status update
1st component: Charles Bloeser. “Many of America’s Foster Children Come to Military Service with Stowaways to Declare.” Article manuscript October 2018 (ready for publication):
3 excerpts from article manuscript as posted on social media:
Military brats who join up haven’t had it easy.
Geography’s another enemy of military parents trying to get their kids back.
Worthless meds and destroyed documents make reuniting homeless veterans andtheir children in foster care even harder.
19 November 2018 “Bad Paper” UPDATE:
Lorelei Laird. “Veterans may sue over discharges they say were result of untreated mental health problems.” ABA Journal. 19 November 2018.
The court’s description of the class who may sue the VA, taken from page 21 of the court’s order, is as follows:
Veterans who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan Era—defined as the period between October 7, 2001, and the present—who:
(a) were discharged from the Navy, Navy Reserves, Marine Corps, or Marine Corps Reserve with less-than-Honorable statuses, including General and Other-than-Honorable discharges but excluding Bad Conduct or Dishonorable discharges;
(b) have not received upgrades of their discharge statuses to Honorable from the NDRB; and
(c) have diagnoses of PTSD, TBI, or other related mental health conditions, or records documenting one or more symptoms of PTSD, TBI, or other related mental health conditions at the time of discharge, attributable to their military service under the Hagel Memo standards of liberal or special consideration.
The Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic and Jenner & Block LLP are the lawyers on this case, and they have filed similar litigation in the hopes of securing this same opportunity for veterans of other branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.
Here are the links to the complaint that started this lawsuit and the judicial order that allows these veterans to sue the VA as a class:
[end of update]
“Bad Paper” discharges and collateral consequences of criminal convictions are two of the snake pits that can prove lethal to military families’ chances of getting their kids back from state child welfare authorities. Here’s some of that discussion, excerpted from the new article manuscript.
Denial of veterans’ services*
“Although by law, Congress denies veterans’ services only to those “discharged under dishonorable conditions,” the VA has interpreted the intent of the law as excluding anyone with Dishonorable discharges as well as all veterans with Bad Conduct or OTH discharges, regardless of whether or not these latter discharges were related to any action understood as ‘dishonorable.’”
Ali R. Tayyeb and Jennifer Greenburg. “Bad Papers”: The Invisible and Increasing Costs of War for Excluded Veterans 6. Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, Brown University. 20 June 2017 (citations omitted).
“Exclusion from basic veteran services is not only unfair, it is also deadly. Denying basic services means no health care for former servicemembers who are disabled, and no income support if disabilities prevent the servicemember from working. For veterans struggling with mental health problems, this abandonment is life-threatening. The suicide rate for veterans excluded from VA health care is twice the suicide rate for VA-recognized veterans.”
Swords to Plowshares a Veterans Rights Organization with assistance of Veterans Legal Clinic, Harvard Law School. Getting It Right: “Bad Paper” Legislation That Works. Prepared for March 29, 2017 House Veteran Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Health Legislative Hearing on H.R 918 and others.
[*The article manuscript notes that spending legislation signed by President Trump in February of 2018 includes a number of intended improvements for those who’ve served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including for some of those with “bad paper.” Links to CRS guides to these new laws are included in the article mss.]
You didn’t have to go to prison? Cool. Time to lose government benefits, such as VA pension, medical care, TANF and SNAP; and no, you may not work in construction or as a cab driver, midwife, or barber.
John G. Malcolm, Vice President, Institute for Constitutional Government, Director & Ed Gilbertson and Sherry Lindberg Gilbertson Senior Legal Fellow, Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation testified in May of 2018 about more than 48,000 state and local “collateral consequences” that destroy families but which folks might not have heard about before they decided to take that plea deal. Because these “civil” penalties are so destructive to a family’s chance to keep everyone together, here’s an excerpt from Mr. Malcolm’s 4 May 2018 testimony:
“Collateral consequences are considered to be civil in nature and thus distinct from criminal laws and penalties, so courts, prosecutors, and defense attorneys have generally treated them as falling outside the scope of their control and immediate concern. Few are aware of the full scope of these “post-sentence civil penalties, disqualifications, or disabilities” that follow a conviction, including criminal defendants and defense counsel. They should be.
“Similar problems can arise with respect to another category of collateral consequences: those that revoke receipt of or eligibility for certain government benefits. For example, a criminal conviction may cost a military veteran his or her pension, insurance, and right to medical treatment, which is particularly troubling because studies indicate that veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and therefore in serious need of medical treatment may be more likely to commit crimes.”
As I explained on Strifeblog in August, in discussing a lawyer’s duties to a client,
“You do the best you can, though, because you swore you would and because the outcome of a criminal case – regardless of whether a client goes to prison – frequently inflicts significant consequences on the lives and fortunes of not just your client but also your client’s family. A criminal conviction, the criminal record that follows it, and any collateral consequences from the conviction, e.g., loss of professional license, reduction in amount of VA disability compensation, termination of VA pension payments, deportation, denial of access to public housing and federal student aid, etc., can hurt and even destroy families.”
Veteran staffed + veteran occupied civilian sector lock-up facilities
“Veterans Serving Veterans” applied multi-product research project. Initial pre-project research underway. Project objective: if comprehensive research activity confirms pre-project research findings, then project seeks to contribute applicable information and relevant facts necessary for public policy communities to make informed decisions re establishment of lock-up units for military veterans who are held pre-judgment or incarcerated following criminal conviction, with such facilities to be characterized by four attributes:
(a) both staff and population are comprised solely of military veterans;
(b) facility policies, procedures, and practices are informed by current science re specialized needs of this highly specialized population with an eye toward avoiding population management practices that trigger combat-trauma associated symptomology;
(c) the provision of expert individualized evaluation and treatment for detainees or inmates suffering from internal and external trauma, whether acquired in combat or otherwise; and
(d) for veterans serving term of imprisonment by judgment, the provision of pre- and post-release transition/re-entry services designed to seek solutions for veterans who face especially difficult challenges securing sufficient income, housing, and services due to felony convictions, “bad paper” discharges, loss of or ineligibility for VA and other federal benefits or professional licenses, or whose continued injuries restrict available work options.
** Recent discussions with experts who’ve seen their proposed model legislation passed into law by state legislatures should encourage not just protections for military families whose children are taken into emergency custody by state officials; it’s reasonable to expect that these nascent relationships can also contribute to legislative support for further experimentation, and the establishment of, vet-focused jails, prisons, and tenant institutions within existing facilities.
Summary of researcher experience re detention- and incarceration-relevant issues
Charles LK Bloeser began his legal career as an assistant district attorney in the State of Oklahoma, where his responsibilities included pursuing the State of Oklahoma’s interests in criminal and civil cases. For most of the years since then, he’s dedicated his skillset to representing criminal defendants, appellants, and post-conviction petitioners in state and federal courts in the United States, including certiorari practice before the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Bloeser’s represented incarcerated clients in federal constitutional challenges to the terms and conditions of their confinement. He’s represented clients in federal district courts in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, and Arizona, as well as in cases before the United States Courts of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and Tenth Circuit. Mr. Bloeser’s interviewed clients and witnesses in state and federal lock-up facilities in Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas. Researcher maintains a Tennessee law license.
Almost 30 identified pre-project issues for this research activity include:
- determination of how vet-dedicated facility to be designated / classified for purposes of institutional and inmate administration, for example, if facility designated under U.S. BOP, then inmates from USPs likely wouldn’t be allowed into the program but perhaps some from FCIs, dependent on offense of conviction, inmate disciplinary record, but most likely from lower-level correctional environments such as camps;
- consideration of inmate disciplinary options and the extent to which these can be applied given a veteran’s particular mental and physical health considerations including, e.g., PTSD, blunt-force and explosive-blast-induced traumatic brain injury; absence or limitation of function with human limbs;
- review extent to which WIT-SEC procedures can or must be employed for inmates at high risk of inside or external manipulation and threat by foreign governments, terror networks, and other threats to the safety of inmates and KSAs they possess;
- examination of protections that need to be put in place for the protection of veterans who are not only inmates but also witnesses to crimes and other events for which they will be called to testify, including when an inmate is called to answer questions and/or testify in a criminal case against another housed inmate;
- analysis of the various legal environments within which a vet-dedicated facility would operate, incl. state and federal constitutional requirements; process for redress and civil rights liability issues; professional licensing matters; applicable employment and contract law; applicability of statutory and DEA regulatory provisions concerning psychotropic drugs and their administration; and search for alternatives to exorbitant prison phone call rates and other practices and procedures that sever, often permanently, inmates from their families, resulting in increased vulnerability to health challenges, inability to access medical care and necessary medications, homelessness, and suicide.
Some challenges faced by veterans who would be detained or incarcerated in facilities such as those under consideration in this research activity
“[Those with bad paper discharges] are more likely to have mental health conditions and twice as likely to commit suicide. They are more likely to be homeless and to be involved with the criminal justice system.”
Legal Services Center, Harvard University, Nat’l Veterans Legal Services Program & Swords to Ploughshares. (2016, March).Underserved: How the VA Wrongfully Excludes Veterans with Bad Paper. Cambridge, MA: Harvard. 23
“Veterans who received bad-paper discharges are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 23.2% of veterans in prison and 33.2% of veterans in jail were discharged with bad-paper, compared to less than 5% of the total veterans population.”
Legal Services Center, Harvard University, National Veterans Legal Services Prog. & Swords to Ploughshares 23
“. . . The VA created a Veteran Justice Outreach (VJO) program with staff who provide case management and other supportive services to veterans to help them avoid unnecessary incarceration. However, the VJO Program can only assist VA-eligible veterans, . . . one-third of Veteran Treatment Courts do not allow veterans who are not “VA eligible” to participate in their programs at all.”
Legal Services Center, Harvard University, National Veterans Legal Services Program, & Swords to Ploughshares 23 (2016, March). Underserved: How the VA Wrongfully Excludes Veterans with Bad Paper.
Crafting proposed model legislation designed to get more military families back together is not the only research activity that benefits especially well from the tools in this particular lawyer’s skill set and experience. Writing amicus briefs in cases that affect past, present, and future members of the Armed Forces is another. This comment from a law professor who clerked for two justices on the United States Supreme Court is from a few years ago, and it is specific to this lawyer’s practice at the United States Supreme Court. The diligence and commitment to producing top-shelf legal work are the same:
“This past year, Charles called me several times for consultation on petitions for certiorari to the Supreme Court. Although an excellent writer and advocate already, Charles solicited my insights as a former Supreme Court law clerk on how to make a compelling case for review. The result of Charles’ extra efforts were two petitions that made the best case for certiorari possible given the available facts and law, and that were better than many of the hundreds of petitions by regular Supreme Court practitioners that I have reviewed.”
Prof. Joe Thai, University of Oklahoma College of Law
Charles Bloeser is licensed to practice law by the State of Tennessee (Tennessee Board of Professional Responsibility #024022), in the United States. Prior to that, he served as an assistant district attorney and criminal trial and appellate lawyer in the State of Oklahoma. Attorney Bloeser has represented clients in a number of state and federal trial and appellate courts, as well as in certiorari practice at the United States Supreme Court. Having opted for inactive status while not in Tennessee, he’s open to providing contract research and writing services for legal counsel pursuing matters that concern the priorities of combatresearchandprose. He will explore whether returning his law license to active status will make it easier to do more good for more past and present military personnel and their families.
What’s an amicus brief?
An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) is a person or entity that is not technically a part of the case that a court will decide. However, the decision that the court will make is expected to affect their interests, too. In essence, amici “have a dog in the fight.”
There can easily be more than one amicus curiae, and they can go in together on an amicus brief. A recent example of doing it this way comes from a case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case concerns the issue of transgender members of the U.S. military. Thirty-one admirals, generals, secretaries of defense, etc. went in together on the BRIEF OF RETIRED MILITARY OFFICERS AND FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES. Here’s the link to that brief: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2018/07/19/18-35347-retired%20military%20officers%20amicus%20brief.pdf
Where Warriors Write (a resource page)
“I cannot speak for every soldier. But this has been true for me and the men who fought by my side. And something else I know: Our tour in Afghanistan left a hole in all of us — a hole we weren’t able to identify, much less repair, because the Army had done almost nothing to prepare us for it.
“We were given exhaustive training for the tasks set before us as soldiers. But when it came to coping with challenges after we came home, we were provided almost no resources.
“This may have been the central insight — dimly realized and barely articulated — that led a group of us to conclude that if there were a path forward through the thickets of grief and loss, we would have to create it ourselves.
“And that is how we decided we needed to tell our story.
“By ‘our’ story, I don’t simply mean what happened at Keating. The most vital component was building a testament to the men who did not come back. Who they were. How they died. And to the extent possible, measuring whether their deaths held meaning, given that their lives were sacrificed for an outpost that probably never should have been built.”
Above excerpt is featured on the CRP “where warriors write” page. It’s taken from a May 29, 2016 opinion piece in The Washington Post by Sgt. Clinton Romesha, a former Army staff sergeant and author of “Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor.” He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the defense of Combat Outpost Keating.
Here’s what combatresearchandprose needs most:
- Brief but personal endorsements of this researcher and the work that he produces, sent throughout personal, professional, political, and philanthropic networks. For example, “I think you’ll like the article I’ve attached. This guy does the kind of top-shelf work that’ll help us save some lives and give military families a fighting chance.” Here’s his website: https://combatresearchandprose.com
- A demonstrated commitment from social media platforms, especially LinkedIn (think Jeff Weiner) – the “go-to” social platform for past and present military personnel –, to making sure that content from this researcher timely reaches and can be engaged with, its intended audiences in the national security / defense / veterans policy communities in the U.S. and its allies.
- Funding sufficient to support the first two years of the applied research initiative described in this slide series. I welcome the opportunity to discuss specific needs with interested parties.
- Introductions to law firms and other interested parties that have made a demonstrated commitment to funding research, writing, and litigation activities such as those of combatresearchandprose.com.
- Combatresearchandprose routinely seeks opportunities to have its research products appear in digital and/or print publications that are trusted by those who make and influence policies which affect past and present military personnel and their families, both in the United States and among U.S. allies.