News | Feb. 14, 2013

Judge Advocate General & Naval Legal Service Command Superior Performance Awards

By Vice Adm. Nanette DeRenzi and Rear Adm. James Crawford, III

 It is our great pleasure to recognize outstanding judge advocates for their professional excellence. Please congratulate the following recipients of the 2012 Office of the Judge Advocate General (OJAG) and Naval Legal Service Command (NLSC) Superior Performance Awards:

OJAG Military Justice Officer of the Year - Maj. Paul Ervasti, USMC. While serving as a supervisory appellate attorney in the OJAG Appellate Government Division, Ervasti demonstrated exceptional appellate advocacy and leadership, mentoring other attorneys on effective legal writing and appellate advocacy. As appellate counsel, Ervasti represented the United States in 22 cases before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (NMCCA), reviewing tens of thousands of trial transcript pages and associated documents and producing hundreds of pages of legal briefs.

OJAG Action Officer of the Year - Lt. Joe Griffo. While serving in the OJAG Administrative Law Division's Personnel Law Branch, Griffo provided expert analysis of the complex body of military personnel law and policy and provided direct counsel on these matters to the most senior Department of the Navy leaders, personally preparing and reviewing over 250 sensitive personnel actions for review by the JAG, Chief of Naval Operations, Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of Defense.

NLSC Junior Officer of the Year – Lt. Mishonda Mosley.  While serving as the staff judge advocate for Naval Air Station (NAS) Meridian, Miss., Mosley excelled in all aspects of her duties. She expertly processed five nonjudicial punishments, two detachments for cause, six administrative separations, 22 command investigations, and a high-visibility senior officer court-martial. She served as the chief legal advisor to a coalition of state and federal law enforcement agencies during NAS Meridian's first-ever counter-drug operation, resulting in several federal indictments.

Trial Counsel of the Year – Lt. Ben Garcia. While serving in Region Legal Service Office Japan's trial department, Garcia mastered every aspect of litigation while effectively involving legalmen in case preparation. A tireless litigator who worked long hours to perfect his cases, Garcia disposed of 30 cases in just one year.  Outside the courtroom, he reinvigorated relationships with the local legal community by volunteering as President of the Japanese Community Legal Association.

Recruiter of the Year – Lt. Andrea Leahy. As the Region Legal Service Office Mid-Atlantic recruiting officer, Leahy worked tirelessly to connect the Navy JAG Corps with potential applicants in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. She arranged and personally participated in numerous structured and informal interviews throughout the region. She organized successful visits to 14 law schools while seeking cost-effective ways to reach out to other potential applicants, including leveraging JAG Corps reservists and postgraduate students.

Command Services Attorney of the Year – Lt. Jesse Adams. While serving as staff judge advocate for Naval Station Mayport, Fla., Adams provided outstanding legal advice across the entire command services spectrum.  Adams tirelessly processed over 80 military justice cases, 45 administrative separations, 10 search and seizure authorizations, five punitive letters of reprimand, 74 debarment orders, 18 military protection orders, 30 Navy Exchange suspension letters, 150 Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act requests, 34 commercial sponsorship agreements, 50 fundraising requests, five congressional inquiries, and 20 command investigations.

Defense Counsel of the Year – Lt. Jennifer Pollio. While serving as defense counsel at Naval Legal Service Office Northwest, Pollio conducted eight general courts-martial, six special courts-martial, seven Article 32 investigation hearings, and three administrative separation boards. Through flawless pre-trial preparation she was able to negotiate superior deals in many cases.

Legal Assistance Attorney of the Year – Lt. Joey Lonjers. While serving as Naval Legal Service Office Southwest legal assistance attorney and assistant department head, Lonjers provided over 1,000 legal assistance services to clients on three different bases in the San Diego area on issues including wills, divorce, child custody, landlord-tenant, and non-support. As the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Officer for Navy Region Southwest, she personally provided tax services and oversaw a tax program involving nearly 250 volunteers and three dozen tax sites across a seven-state area of responsibility. Each of these exemplary officers was chosen from a field of very impressive candidates. Their accomplishments are representative of the dedicated and innovative solutions OJAG and NLSC provide to the Fleet every day.