Military Defense Attorney Explains Rare and Risky “Naked Pleas” and Next Steps in Bergdahl Case

Bergdahl could face life in prison, says Tully Rinckey PLLC Founding Partner Greg T. Rinckey, Esq.

October 16, 2017 – Albany, N.Y. – Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl could face life in prison after pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy in court Monday, October 16, 2017 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, said Tully Rinckey PLLC Founding Partner Greg T. Rinckey, Esq.

By opting to plead guilty without a deal in place, Sgt. Bergdahl opted for what is known as a “naked plea” in the hopes that the sentencing judge in this case, Col. Jeffrey R. Nance, will grant him leniency. A naked plea is extremely rare and occurs when the defendant enters a plea without a deal from the prosecution. The misbehavior before the enemy charge brings with it the possibility of a life sentence, while the desertion charge brings the possibility of five years in prison. There will be a pre-sentencing hearing beginning Monday, October 23, 2017, where evidence in the case will be revealed.

Several pretrial rulings against Bergdahl, including the June 2017 decision to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for the defendant, have given the prosecution leverage to pursue firm punishment against him.

“Sgt. Bergdahl made a bad decision by leaving his post that night in 2009 – one that nearly cost the lives of his fellow servicemen who tried to rescue him,” said Rinckey. “By opting to make a naked plea instead of facing a jury trial, Sgt. Bergdahl is taking responsibility for his actions, which the sentencing judge should take into consideration, yet taking a naked plea without the benefit of a plea deal is very risky as there is no safety net for sentencing and sentencing rests solely with the Judge.”

Greg Rinckey is available to discuss Sgt. Bergdahl’s case in greater detail. Greg has many years of experience in military Justice, having previously served as a prosecutor, defense counsel and appellate defense counsel in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) Corps. Greg is available for interviews on location, by phone or on Skype. Tully Rinckey also has the ability to participate in high-definition videoconferencing.

To arrange an interview with Greg Rinckey, please contact Chief Marketing Officer Kelsey Knutsen at (518) 903-1559 or via email at [email protected]


Tully Rinckey PLLC is dedicated to providing legal service in the areas of federal employment, discrimination, and military law to federal employees and military personnel throughout the nation. The team of attorneys, paralegals, and professionals has pioneered many landmark decisions handed down from the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals involving USERRA and MSPB claims. The firm maintains websites at www.fedattorney.com () and 1888law4life.com with additional information about its attorneys, achievements, and news stories involving the firm’s work.

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