Case Results


November 2023

After more than 15 years since his client's dishonorable discharge due to drug abuse, Patrick Hughes achieved a significant breakthrough during the Air Force Discharge Review Board hearing. He successfully persuaded the Board to grant his client's request for an upgrade in service characterization, transforming it from dishonorable to honorable. Additionally, he successfully altered the narrative reason for separation from "Misconduct: Drug Abuse" to the more favorable "Secretarial Authority. "Ever since his client's separation, despite his commendable efforts in supporting other veterans, he had carried a burden of shame for being discharged under the cloud of misconduct and receiving a general discharge. However, during the hearing, the Board acknowledged that the client's misconduct stemmed from the harrowing experiences of war and an attempt to self-medicate as a coping mechanism. Patrick Hughes presented compelling evidence, including the client's preexisting diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that was directly linked to the clients service. This revelation played a crucial role in invoking the leniency outlined in the guidance provided by the Secretary of Defense (as outlined in the Hagel, Wilkie, and Kurta memos) when considering discharge upgrade requests. Consequently, the client's service was recharacterized as honorable, marking a significant milestone over 15 years after their separation.

Practice area(s): Military Law; Discharge Board Hearings

Patrick J. Hughes

“The only way to truly advocate for your clients is to know and understand them and their issue. Being a part of the same family, I can think of no better community of people I would rather represent than current and former DoD members and their families.” – Patrick J. Hughes