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Orange County Bar Association

Administrative Separations (Military)

I am a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Military. After several years of good service I was advised I had come up positive on a urinalysis. This came as a surprise to me since I had not taken any controlled substance to my knowledge. I was advised by my Command that I would be given an Administrative Discharge Board to remove me from service. I hired Attorney Will Bruzzo, a former Major USMCR to represent me. Mr. Bruzzo had been representing service members for many years and had many successful outcomes in Administrative Separation matters and courts-martial. Mr. Bruzzo had me reflect on events prior to the urine collection and he put together a defense for me along with good character testimony from Staff Non-Commissioned Officers and others who knew me well. Mr. Bruzzo had me keep my military counsel and they collaborated on the case. At the end of the hearing the panel found NO BASIS FOR SEPARATION/ NO MISCONDUCT and I was RETAINED in service. I am very happy for this result as I can continue my career. I am very grateful to Mr. Bruzzo for his efforts and I would recommend him for any Administrative Separation Board matter.


I have been in the United States Military for about 12 years. Generally speaking I have had a good career with a few problems like Drunk Driving Offenses. However, about a year ago a female accused me of sexually assaulting her. I was investigated by my Command for about a year for Sexual Assault under Article 120 of the UCMJ and Article 92 UCMJ for various Orders violations. I hired Attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me prior to the filing of charges and he made contact with NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Services) and generally counseled me during the time prior to charges being filed; In the end, my Command did a rather odd thing and instead of taking me to a court-martial they sent me to an Administrative Separation Board (ADSEP Board) for Commission of a Serious Offense for Sexual Assault, Article 120 UCMJ, Orders Violations, Article 92 UCMJ and other charges. Mr. Bruzzo represented me at the hearing and he directed my appointed (and free) military attorney to help in my defense. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major USMCR and Judge Advocate; he has also represented service members for over 20 years at courts-martial and ADSEP Boards; he proved to be a very effective attorney. He poked many holes in the Government’s case and demonstrated the unreliability of my accuser. After less then an hour the members of the board found that the facts did not prove that I had committed the alleged acts and I was RETAINED in the military. This was a very stressful time for me and my family and I saw many years of hard work and loyalty going down the drain. I am very grateful to Mr. Bruzzo and I would enthusiastically recommend him for any Administrative Board, Court-martial or military law matter. May 17, 2016


I am a member of the United States Military. I went through a series of very difficult personal matters while I was in training and I ended up using marijuana on two occasions. I was tested four times by urinalysis and came up positive each time with varying levels of THC in my system. In addition, while I was using I was away without leave (Unauthorized Absence) and I received Non-Juridical Punishment for that offense. I also self-admitted on the marijuana use. I was then processed for separation by reason of Misconduct-Drug Abuse. I was very concerned about getting a bad discharge which could permanently effect my record. Despite what I had done I believed that there was unusual circumstances which justified a more lenient outcome. I hired attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Marine Corps Judge Advocate and has been representing United States Military members for over 20 years in administrative separations and courts-martial. Mr. Bruzzo took over the case and used my military counsel to help him in my defense. Mr. Bruzzo prepared me and other witnesses for the hearing along with the military counsel. After the hearing I was given a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions! I am very happy with this result because based on what I had done, it was very likely that I could have got an Other Then Honorable Discharge which is a negative discharge. I think Mr. Bruzzo did a very good job for me and I would enthusiastically recommend him for any Military Administrative Separation matter. April 21, 2017


I had spent 19 years in the U.S. military when a random traffic stop gave rise to numerous minor infractions to include possession of a medication without prescription, open container, possession of a weapon, driving with alcohol present in blood and later a fraternization charge. These charges were either wildly speculative or minor infractions. However, my Command sought to ADMINISTRATIVELY SEPARATE me for COMMISSION OF A SERIOUS OFFENSE despite multiple deployments, an excellent record and almost 20 years of service. I hired Attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major USMCR and a former Judge Advocate, and has more then 25 years of experience with courts-martial and Administrative Separation Boards. Mr. Bruzzo proved adept at picking apart the Government’s case and helping put these allegations in perspective given my almost 20 years of stellar service. After about 20 mins of deliberation the Board RETAINED me in service giving me the chance to retire and end my service with honor. I am very grateful for Mr. Bruzzo’s efforts and I would enthusiastically recommend him for an Administrative Board Separation, Commission of a Serious Offense. Dated: 03/30/18


I have spent over 15 years in the military in an elite unit. During that time I had performed exceedingly well and it was reflected in my Fitness Evaluations. However, I had a previous incident with alcohol which ended up in court and then a few years later I had another very serious alcohol related incident wherein I got into physical altercations with several civilian personnel. As a result of that serious incident the military referred me to an Administrative Board for Separation by reason of Commission of a Serious Offense. The Government sought to have me discharged from the military with an Other Then Honorable discharge. Such a discharge would have caused me to lose benefits like the GI Bill and in my mind would have unfairly characterized my service wherein I worked very hard, rose to a very respectable rank and risked my life on numerous occasions. Once I got notified of my board I consulted with attorney Will Bruzzo; Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major USMCR and has represented service members at court-martials and administrative separation boards for more then 20 years; Mr. Bruzzo encouraged me to seek treatment for my alcohol issues; during that time I discovered that I had PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Both my alcohol treatment and PTSD issues would become factors at the hearing. When I hired Mr. Bruzzo he told me I would also be given a military lawyer and that we would use the military lawyer to help us prepare and present the case. Mr. Bruzzo prepared my case and directed the military lawyer who also did an outstanding job. Despite the fact that I had already admitted that I was guilty of the offenses they alleged, Mr. Bruzzo convinced the board to RETAIN me in the service based on my excellent professional performance and potential to change my future behavior for the better. Given the facts of the recent offense and my prior record it was an incredible outcome. Most service members would have been removed from service on these facts. May 9, 2016


I am an active duty member of the US Military. I took a random urinalysis test and it came up positive for cocaine. This was a shock to me because I had not ingested cocaine. Regardless, my Command sent me directly to a court-martial for violation of Article 112a of the UCMJ for wrongful use of a controlled substance. I did some investigation of my own and determined that my drinking a tea from South America which contained cocaine leaf was the likely culprit. I did not know that cocaine was in the tea before I ingested it. Fortunately I still had the tea bags and the tea box as evidence. I hired Attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me because of his experience as a military lawyer and his past successes with positive urinalysis cases. Mr. Bruzzo took my evidence and appeared in court on my case. He discussed the matter with the Prosecutor (Trial Counsel) and after a few months the court-martial case against me was DISMISSED. I was happy about that but of course the military can still separate me from the service with an Administrative Separation Board (ADSEP Board) even after the charges are dismissed at court-martial. My Command soon advised me that despite all the evidence to the contrary, they were going to try and separate me from the military through an ADSEP Board. Mr. Bruzzo also represented me at the ADSEP Board. Mr. Bruzzo used an expert witness from the Navy Drug lab and his years of experience to explain to the board members that cocaine tea can cause you to come up positive. He also explained that the Government has to prove that I KNOWINGLY ingested the drug. He argued there was no evidence to show that I knowingly ingested the drug. Despite that the Government still wanted to separate me with a less then honorable discharge which would have caused me to lose all my benefits. In the end, Mr. Bruzzo convinced the Board that I had not knowingly ingested the drug and they found NO MISCONDUCT and I was RETAINED in the military. Dated:12/18/15


I am an active duty member of the United States Military. After several years of proud service and promotion to e-5, I came up positive at a urinalysis for a controlled substance and prescribed medication that was not prescribed to me. Despite many years of hard work I was subjected to an Administrative Separation Board (ADSEP Board) where my Command was going to try and get me discharged from the military with a negative discharge category of Other Then Honorable. This would cause me not only to no longer be in the military but I would also lose all my benefits. I was devastated by this development which was made more difficult by the fact that I am the sole support for my wife and two children. I met and spoke with Attorney Will Bruzzo about this matter. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major in the USMCR and a military lawyer with over 22 years of experience. Mr. Bruzzo told me that the Government had to prove that I knowingly ingested this medication since I denied ever taking it. He also had me gather character witnesses and sat down with me to prepare for the eventual hearing. While Mr. Bruzzo was the lead attorney he used my assigned military counsel to help prepare the case by speaking to witnesses. At the hearing Mr. Bruzzo presented the facts of my case using various fact witnesses including myself and character witnesses and an expert from the Navy Drug Lab. After deliberating a short period of time the members came back with the finding that I committed NO MISCONDUCT and I was RETAINED in the military. I am very grateful for this outcome and I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Bruzzo for any Administrative Separation Board matter. October 9, 2015


I am a reservist in the United States Military. I have been a reservist for over 12 years now and I have a very good record. During my time in the military I have participated in many urinalysis tests and never had a problem. However, during one drill weekend I took a random drug test and came up positive for a prescription drug that was not prescribed to me. I explained to my Command that I had unknowingly taken this prescription drug and did not realize what was in the medicine when I ingested it. Despite this, my Command wanted to do a Separation by Reason of Misconduct-Drug Abuse with an Other Then Honorable Discharge. This was a very upsetting process for me because I am a proud member of the United States Military and had never had a previous problem and I really felt this instance was a simple mistake. Regardless, the Command went forward and so I hired a lawyer to try and save my career. I hired Attorney Will Bruzzo, a former Marine Corps Judge Advocate and Military Lawyer for over 20 years. Mr. Bruzzo hired a toxicology expert to look at the urine result and the toxicologist wrote a sworn declaration which was to be used at the hearing; Mr. Bruzzo also tried to resolve the matter with the Command before going to the hearing. When the Command refused to cancel the hearing Mr. Bruzzo and my military counsel (all military members are entitled to a military counsel and a civilian counsel at their own expense) prepared for the Administrative Hearing (Board of Inquiry) by preparing me for the hearing and preparing my character witnesses. At the hearing I could see Mr. Bruzzo was very prepared. The members who heard the evidence spent less than 30 minutes deliberating before they returned with a finding that: I had NOT Committed any misconduct; I had NOT performed in a substandard way and that separation from the military was NOT warranted. This was a complete victory for me and I am very happy with this result... March 25, 2015


After receiving Captain's mast for a substance abuse charge in the NAVY, being an E-1 and faced with the massive task of overturning the charge and retaining my career, my friend recommended Mr. Will Bruzzo. I didn't know what to expect had never been in such a situation. I was absolutely amazed with his knowledge of the subject matter and willingness to help me. Throughout the whole process Mr. Bruzzo kept me informed and went above and beyond to get the outcome I wanted. He was able to convince members of the administration separation board to recommend retention in the NAVY and keep my career against all odds. It would not have been possible without him. Would I recommend him? OF COURSE!!! March 23, 2014


I was a reservist in the United States Military with 20 years of service, to include time on active duty. I came up positive for a controlled substance on a urinalysis test. I was then subject to an administrative separation (ADSEP) pursuant to the legal separations manual. Being subject to a separation from the service is mandatory for a positive urinalysis. Also, most of the time, a separation for positive urinalysis results in an Other then Honorable (OTH) discharge which causes the service member to lose all benefits to include retirement and the GI bill. Because I was eligible to retire and get my retirement benefits I had a lot to lose. As such, I hired Attorney William W. Bruzzo to represent me in this proceeding. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Major in the Marines and has been practicing military law for many years. He is one of the few private lawyers in Southern California who regularly practices military law. Mr. Bruzzo proved to be a very able attorney when it came to defending me. He was able to persuade the board who heard my case not to separate me and as such I was RETAINED IN THE MILITARY AND ALLOWED TO RETIRE. I was very relieved at the outcome because I could have lost everything. I would enthusiastically recommend Mr. Bruzzo for any military legal and/or Administrative Separation Matter. Date: 3/22/10


I am a female who served in the United States Army. I performed extremely well while I was in the military and as a result I was sent to a highly respected unit. While there I suffered constant and severe sexual harassment from a senior staff Non-commissioned officer. After much personal deliberation I brought the problem to my higher ups. They conducted an investigation but did not believe there was enough evidence. The same individual continued to harass me after the investigation. Although I continued to complain senior people in my unit refused to do anything about it. Finally, I went UA (Unauthorized Absence/Away without Leave) on two different occasions for short periods of time because I felt my unit was not supporting me. My unit took the opportunity to administratively separate me from the Army with a General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions. I felt that my going UA, while not the best idea, was brought on by the stress of having my own unit turn on me. I was a stellar solider up to the point when this man started to harass me and would not stop. As such I thought I was deserving of an Honorable Discharge for my time in the Army. I was very depressed about what happen to me in the Army as it had been my dream to serve and I was very disappointed with my treatment. I turned to Attorney Will Bruzzo to represent me. Mr. Bruzzo is a former Marine himself and well versed in military law and administrative separations. He drafted and filed my Application for the Review of Discharge from the Armed Forced of the United States (DD form 293). Mr. Bruzzo also advised me to appear at a traveling hearing which is an option for a Discharge Upgrade Request. Mr. Bruzzo prepared me for the hearing then I appeared and told my story along with submitting the Declaration Mr. Bruzzo helped me write and other papers which supported my argument. A short time later I was advised by mail that my request had been GRANTED... Date: 3/13/13


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