News: Marine Corps Bulletin to change legal services aboard station
Story by Lance Cpl. James Smith
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station residents can expect a change in legal services at the Station Judge Advocates’ office with the passing of Marine Corps Bulletin 5800 approved March 11, 2013.
The bulletin enforces the reorganization of legal services to four Legal Services Support Sections located in a Marine Corps Installation region: east, west, pacific and nation capitol region, and nine subordinate Legal Services Support Teams.
“Legal Services Support Section Pacific is located in Okinawa, so all things trial services and legal assistance will be physically located there,” said Maj. Melissa Martin, station judge advocate.
Martin added that notary services would still continue, but was unsure how other services including passport and tax services would be handled during the transition.
With the loss of services at SJA, anyone needing legal services here in Iwakuni would have to contact Okinawa in order to complete the process for any legality issue.
As of right now, SJA continues to provide its current services, but has laid out a timeline of what future plans will hold according to the bulletin.
“On October 15, our legal assistance attorney has to go to the United States for (temporary assigned duty),” said Capt. Jacob Smith, deputy station judge advocate. “That time will be a trial period for what it will be like without legal services. After that, our legal assistance attorney and our trial council will (permanent change of station) around March-June time frame and we have no one to fill that space, so we will lose those services.”
Although services are slated to cease in Iwakuni, station residents can still receive assistance contacting a legal assistance attorney in Okinawa.
According to Martin, those who resolving legal issues and are assigned to a legal assistance attorney here when they leave will conduct a phone consultation with an attorney in Okinawa.
For more information regarding changes with legal services, contact the staff judge advocate at 253-5591.