Mr. Toney, a civilian military lawyer, provides careful and aggressive representation in all areas of military personnel law. He provides high quality legal services at very competitive prices. He has represented service members and veterans from all military departments and the U.S. Coast Guard. Mr. Toney focuses exclusively on military administrative law matters, which can be very complicated. He does not handle UCMJ (criminal) cases.
Mr. Toney’s foremost objective is to be an effective advocate for his clients. His secondary objective is to advocate for needed changes in the law to benefit military personnel and veterans generally. Media sources, non-governmental organizations, and other attorneys recognize his authority in the area of military personnel law and consult him regularly. Mr. Toney is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, Oxford University.
- Federal Court
Mr. Toney is highly experienced in the area of federal court review of military personnel actions. His federal court cases typically involve the review of final decisions of military administrative boards such as the boards for the correction of military records. Mr. Toney focuses almost exclusively on cases involving claims for back pay and related monetary benefits such as medical and regular retirement pay before the United States Court of Federal Claims, a national court located in Washington, DC.
Mr. Toney is responsible for several landmark decisions in the federal courts involving the applicability of the federal Privacy Act to the Army National Guard, the requirement that the boards for the correction of military records consider and adhere to their prior decisions (doctrine of precedent), limitations on the judicial deference that may be given to military correction board decisions, and the circumstances requiring a court to return a decision to the military department for further explanation (remands). He has successfully litigated matters such as promotions, reprimands, disability evaluation, and unlawful discharges.
Federal court review of military decisions is a complicated process. There are many pitfalls to avoid. Mr. Toney carefully assesses the merits of each case and develops a legal strategy that will give his clients their best chance of success. He painstakingly develops the relevant facts and spends the necessary time researching and explaining the applicable law to both his clients and the court. For an overview of the federal court process, please review our Federal Court: Frequently Asked Questions.
- Military Record Correction Boards (BCMRs)
Each branch of the military, as well as the Coast Guard, has a board for the correction of military records. The BCMRs have very broad authority to correct an applicant’s military records. Mr. Toney has extensive experience with the BCMRs and knows their procedures, strengths, and weaknesses. His approach to BCMR decisions is to develop and present every application as though it were going to be reviewed in federal court. All relevant facts are identified and all legal arguments made. Mr. Toney also is a public advocate for the reform of the BCMRs. For an overview of the BCMR process, please review our BCMRs: Frequently Asked Question.
- Discharge Review Boards
Each branch of the military also has a board for the review of discharge characterizations. Like the BCMRs, the DRBs have broad powers to change, or “upgrade,” an applicants military service characterization. Mr. Toney carefully investigates each client’s case, which includes obtaining and analyzing military service and, when necessary, medical records, to identify the strongest claims for relief. Mr. Toney has represented clients who have had their discharges upgraded from Other Than Honorable to fully Honorable, and from Other Than Honorable to General, Under Honorable Conditions. Cases in which the military has violated its own regulations in discharging an applicant, or where the applicant was not treated the same as other members of the same unit, normally have the best chances of success.
- Other Administrative Boards
In addition to the BCMRs and DRBs, Mr. Toney has also successfully represented service members and veterans before a range of other administrative boards, which differ among the branches of the military. They include, but are not limited to, the following boards:
Army Suitability Evaluation Board (Adverse Information)
Army Grade Determination Board (Retirements)
Army Officer Special Review Board (Officer Evaluation Report Appeals)
Army Enlisted Special Review Board (Enlisted Evaluation Report Appeals)
USAF Evaluation Reports Appeal Board (Performance Report Appeals)
USMC Performance Evaluation Review Board (“PERB”) (USMC FITREP Appeals).
Mr. Toney has represented numerous service members in Inspector General and command-directed investigations. If you are notified of such an investigation, it is imperative that you engage legal counsel immediately. Do not trust what your command or the investigating officer tells you, and say nothing and sign nothing if you have not retained and consulted with a qualified attorney. Mr. Toney has seen many cases where the service member was misled by a command or investigating officer, with career-destroying consequences. The quality of IG and command-directed investigations varies widely, but tend to be poor. In some cases the investigations appear to be little more than “hit jobs” designed to return the result the command wants.
Mr. Toney provides aggressive representation for officers and enlisted personnel under investigation. Activities typical of his representation include: contacting witnesses favorable to the client, obtaining statements from those witnesses, and providing their names and statements to the investigating officer; obtaining and reviewing all documentation relevant to the investigation; guiding the client through his or her interview with/testimony to the investigating officer, where an interview is required or appropriate; and analyzing and rebutting the findings of the investigating officer.
- Involuntary Separation Boards (“Show Cause,” “Board of Inquiry,” or “AdSep” boards)
Military personnel found to have engaged in misconduct or substandard duty performance may receive notification that they must appear before a board to determine whether they will be retained in the military. For most military members, the process is extremely stressful, especially where long careers and retirements are at stake. These boards offer a good opportunity to develop and present your best and strongest defense against the allegations. Mr. Toney has successfully defended clients against misconduct and substandard duty performance allegations through careful analysis and investigation, witness identification and development, and detailed preparation for the hearing. He typically involves the service member’s detailed military counsel to assist with navigating the administrative issues that arise and to provide feedback on the personalities and attitudes of the board members involved.
If you are facing an involuntary separation board, you have the right to detailed military counsel at no charge. When discussing your case with detailed military counsel, or with civilian counsel, it is crucially important that your lawyer have the time necessary to fully investigate, develop, and present your defense. If at any time you doubt your detailed counsel’s ability to fully and forcefully advocate on your behalf, you should contact Mr. Toney.
- Geographical Areas of Practice
Mr. Toney represents service members and veterans wherever they are located. He has served clients from the following installations, and others:
- U.S. Marine Corps
Miramar Air Station, Camp Pendleton, 29 Palms, Okinawa, Camp Lejeune, Parris Island, Quantico.
- U.S. Navy
Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Coronado, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Naval Air Station Pensacola, National Naval Medical Center, U.S. Naval Academy, Naval Station Norfolk.
- U.S. Army
Fort Benning, Fort Gordon, Fort Knox, Fort Drum, Fort Bragg, Fort Leonard Wood, Fort Polk, Fort Riley, Fort Irwin.
U.S. Air Force
Barksdale AFB, Beale AFB, Travis AFB, Eglin AFB, Ellsworth AFB, KeeslerAFB, Kirtland AFB.
Mr. Toney also has represented service members overseas, to include Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Korea, Spain, and England. Modern communications permit long-distance representation with no disadvantage to clients.
Photographs courtesy of the Department of Defense, U.S. Army, and U.S. Navy