DSO West Holds Change of Command

By Lt. Ethan L. Smith, Defense Service Office West

Defense Service Office (DSO) West held a virtual change of command ceremony in San Diego, California, on August 6, 2020. COVID-19 restrictions limited in-person attendance to ceremony staff and key personnel. DSO West command members, family, and friends were invited to witness the ceremony via live stream.

Rear Adm. Darse E. Crandall, Deputy Judge Advocate General of the Navy and Commander, Naval Legal Service Command, presided over the ceremony in which Capt. Stephen C. Reyes relieved Capt. Jonathan T. Stephens as commanding officer of DSO West.

Crandall congratulated Stephens for his achievements as Commanding Officer of DSO West. “During unprecedented times, DSO West remained dedicated and resilient with Capt. Stephens leading from the front. His leadership was marked by his steady hand and his unwavering commitment to his Sailors,” said Crandall.

During the ceremony, Stephens thanked his Sailors for a rewarding tour and acknowledged the support his family has provided throughout the years. “It has been the greatest honor of my career to lead an amazing and diverse group of men and women as we defended our Sailors in support of our nation, the Navy, and the JAG Corps,” said Stephens.

Stephens will report to the Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary in Washington, DC as the Chief Trial Judge.

Reyes just completed his tour as the Circuit Judge for the Navy-Marine Corps Western Pacific Judicial Circuit in Yokosuka, Japan. Prior to that position, he was the Executive Officer of DSO West.

“Our motto at DSO West is Fiat Justitia, which is Latin for “let justice be done.” An apt motto that goes hand-in-hand with our mission to provide professional and ethical defense services to the Sailors in the fleet. As your Commanding Officer, I am committed to providing you the support and leadership necessary for us to fulfill our motto and accomplish our mission,” said Reyes.

Reyes, a native of Guam, received his LL.M from Harvard University, his J.D. from University of the Pacific, and his B.A. in Philosophy from the University of California, Davis. He is the author of Left Out in the Could: The Case for a Learned Counsel Requirement in the Military, 2010 Army Law. 5 (2010); Dusty Gallows: The Execution of Private Bennett and the Modern Capital Court Martial, 62 Naval Law Rev. 103 (2013); and By Reason of Serving Their Country: The Case for Limiting Capital Punishment at Courts-Martial to Service Connected Offense, 65 Naval Law Rev. 69 (2017).

DSO West provides legal representation to military service members at Administrative Separation Boards, Boards of Inquiry, and Courts-Martial, in addition to providing advice to service members on defense-related topics such as non-judicial punishment.

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