Monthly Archives: May 2012

CLE: Representing Servicemembers who can no longer serve

military law task force




A CLE presentation In Fayettville, Arkansas

Held in conjunction with the annual conference of the GI Rights Network

Saturday, June 2, 2012

$25-75 suggested donation for attorneys needing CLE credit

No Charge for those attending who do not need CLE credit for attendance

LIVE ATTENDANCE CLE CREDIT INFORMATION: We have applied for CLE credit from the Oklahoma and Arkansas bars.

RECORDED ATTENDANCE CLE CREDIT INFORMATION: We will be recording this presentation in audio format. Pending approval, CLE credit should be available in Oklahoma and other states that allow audio archived CLE. (Arkansas unfortunately does not permit archived CLE credit.) More information on the recorded CLE can be found later in June at

9:00a.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Mt. Sequoyah Retreat & Conference Center

150 NW Skyline Drive

Fayetteville, AR 72701


9:00 – 9:15 Registration and introductions

9:15 – 10:15 Military Sexual Trauma* (Rachel Natelson and Kathleen Gilberd)

10:15 – 10:30 Break

10:30 – 11:30 Conscientious Objection* (Deborah Karpatkin)

11:30 – 11:45 Break

11:45 – 12:45 AWOL and Unauthorized Absence Defense* (James Branum)

12:45 – 1:15 Lunch – Military Law Task Force (MLTF) Meeting

* CLE Approval applied for in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

For more information call 405-494-0562


Rachel Natelson is the Legal Director of the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). She formerly developed and presided over the Veterans and Servicemembers Project at the Urban Justice Center in New York City, and served as a staff attorney at the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Natelson received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University and her law degree from New York University School of Law.

Kathleen Gilberd has worked as a military counselor for over 30 years, assisting conscientious objectors, soldiers fighting sexual harassment and racial discrimination, GI whistleblowers, soldiers and sailors accused under “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policies, and veterans unfairly denied benefits after “bad paper discharges.” Her writing and cases have made her a nationally recognized expert in military administrative law. Gilberd is the Executive Director of the National Lawyers Guild’s Military Law Task Force and a frequent contributor to its legal publication, On Watch. She is co-author ofFighting Back, which was for many years the only legal manual on military policy on homosexuality, and a contributing author for the respected legal manual, Sexual Orientation and the Law. She serves on the board of directors of the GI Rights Network and has been involved in both national and local work in the National Lawyers Guild since 1977. She received a degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Her website can be found at

Deborah Karpatkin is a civil rights, civil liberties and employment rights lawyer in private practice in New York City. She has represented Conscientious Objectors and military service members since 1991. On behalf of ACLU affiliates in New York, D.C., Southern California, and Connecticut, Ms. Karpatkin has filed several successful habeas corpus petitions on behalf of four conscientious objectors: Martin v. Secretary, NDNY (2006) (TRO issued to bar deployment of Army Sergeant with pending CO application; EAJA fees awarded; CO granted); Brown v. Geren, DDC (2007) (CO granted to Army officer and West Point grad after petition filed); Lee v. Secretary of the Army, EDCA (2007) (honorable discharge granted Army Specialist after petition filed); and Izbicki v. Mabus (2010) (CO granted to Navy officer and Naval Academy grad after petition filed). In addition, Ms. Karpatkin has, on behalf of the ACLU, co-counseled amicus curiae briefs in two recent CO appeals: Watson v. Geren, 569 F. 3d 115 (2d Cir. 2009); and Kanai v. McHugh, 638 F. 3d 251 (4th Cir. 2011).

In her employment practice, she represents individuals at all income levels, in both litigation and transactional work. She is co-counsel with the NYCLU in a lawsuit against the Salvation Army challenging its faith-based employment practices in its government-funded programs.

Ms. Karpatkin is a member of the NYC Bar Association, and has served on its Military Affairs and Justice and Lawyers’ Orchestra Committees. She is a member of the National Employment Lawyers’ Association of New York, where she serves on the Electronic Discovery Committee. She is a long time board member, active volunteer attorney, and former officer of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

After graduating from Columbia Law School, Ms. Karpatkin served as law clerk to Federal District Court Judge Gus J. Solomon in Portland, OR; Associate at Vladeck, Waldman, Elias & Engelhard in New York; Staff Counsel for the ACLU of New Jersey; Clinical Associate Professor of Law at New York Law School; and Legal Director of 100% Vote/Human SERVE, the national voter registration reform advocacy organization. She opened her private law practice in 2001.

James M. Branum is a solo-practitioner in Oklahoma City where he practices military law, LGBT law, consumer bankruptcy and criminal defense. He is a graduate of Austin School of Theology and Oklahoma City University School of Law. He currently serves as the chair of the Military Law Task Force, legal director of the Oklahoma Center for Conscience and Peace Research and as the Minister of Peace and Justice of Joy Mennonite Church of Oklahoma City. To date, Mr. Branum has presented more than 20 seminars for lawyers, paralegals and law students in the areas of military law and related subjects.

The American Bar Association Journal named Branum as of the “Top 10 Legal Rebels of 2010.”

Mr. Branum has represented servicemembers before military authorities at Fort Hood, Fort Bliss, Fort Sill, Fort Stewart, Fort Gordon, Fort Bragg, Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, Fort Drum, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, Fort Lee, National Guard posts in Oklahoma and Texas, US Army Human Resources Command-St. Louis, US Army Pardon and Parole Board, US Army CO Review Board, US Army Court of Criminal Appeals (pro hac vice), Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Tinker AFB, Sheppard AFB, Charleston Naval Brig, Miramar Naval Consolidated Brig and Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

His website can be found at

In memory: Karen Detamore

We are sad to announce that MLTF Secretary and Steering Committee Member, Karen Detamore passed away yesterday.

In honor of her legacy, we are sharing this remembrance shared by the Philadelphia NLG Chapter:

Friends, as many of you have heard, our dearest friend, mentor and inspiration, Karen Detamore, died yesterday. This comes as a surprise to her family and to many of us, who had spoken with her recently about all the things she hoped and planned to be active in during this summer and beyond.

There will not be a service right now, probably a life celebration later in the summer. The family is happy to hear from friends and are at home right now. Karen had a lifetime commitment to the NLG, and the family is encouraging contributions to the NLG in her memory.

With the encouragement of Karen’s family, we will go forward with our plans for the NLG Philly fundraiser tomorrow night, and hope to see Harold and others there. The event will celebrate the NLG’s 75th anniversary and the history of our chapter, especially the contributions of local members, including, of course, a special tribute to Karen. The details are below (and attached) along with a brief summary of Karen’s fantastic work for social justice. We hope to see you all tomorrow!

Thursday May 3 (6-8pm)
William Way Community Center, Philadelphia Room
1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA


Karen Detamore, a member of the National Lawyers Guild for nearly 38 years, fought for the civil and legal rights of the downtrodden and
underrepresented her entire life. As a legal worker and lawyer, Karen consistently led an inspiring and successful life, devoted in service to the oppressed.

Karen joined the NLG in 1973 as a legal worker and continued as an active legal worker member until becoming a law student at Rutgers-Camden in 1979 and an attorney in 1983. From 1973 to 1976, Karen worked as a legal worker for Philadelphians for Equal Justice, an organization which was formed to assist victims of police misconduct and to educate the public about the problem. Within the NLG in that period, Karen also volunteered as part of the Wounded Knee Legal Defense/Offense Committee in South Dakota. She then worked from 1976-77 as a staff member for the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Project in Japan, providing legal assistance for individual service members. From 1978-79, she was the director of the NLG related Paralegal Studies Program of the Free Law School, a one year training program for public interest paralegal jobs. After law school, Karen worked from 1983-1989 as an attorney in private practice, serving veterans and military service members. From 1983 to 1984, she also worked as the Director of the Free Law School, now re-named “Legal Awareness Workshops.” While continuing her part-time private practice, in 1987 she became the National Coordinator for the Criminal Justice Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

For over 20 years from 1989 through mid-2009, Karen was Executive Director of Friends of Farmworkers, a statewide legal services organization providing legal representation and education to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. FOF has protected thousands of farm workers, defending them on issues related to their employment and their ability to organize. FOF has become an important and powerful legal advocacy group thanks in major part to Karen’s vision, dedication, intelligence, and strategy. She was forced to step down from her position at FOF in 2009 because of health issues.

While at FOF, Karen served as President of the Farmworker Project Group, a national organization representing the directors and managing attorneys of farmworker legal services programs, and represented farmworker programs as the chair of the National Legal Aid and Defender Association farmworker law section and as a representative to NLADA’s Civil Policy Group.

Karen has had a strong presence in Pennsylvania legal aid organizations and local and state bar associations. She served for two years as a member of the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights. She served for more than 10 years as President of the Pennsylvania Project Directors Corporation (an association of directors of all Pennsylvania legal services programs). Karen was one of the key leaders of the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association for the past 20 years and assumed numerous leadership roles within the Philadelphia Bar Association. She served as the chair of the Public Interest Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association and as an elected member of its Board of Governors.

Karen has been honored by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, and the Peggy Browning Fund for her ongoing work in public interest law. Last year the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild honored Karen for her years of service and went on to create the Karen Detamore Lifetime Achievement Award, to honor those whose lifetime of work parallels Karen’s many accomplishments and the values she always fought for.

MaryCatherine  Roper
Staff  Attorney
ACLU  of Pennsylvania