Military Wiki

Colby Vokey (born 1965) is an American lawyer and former officer in the United States Marine Corps. He currently practices criminal defense law with the Dallas-based firm Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl. He represents clients in all types of criminal matters, with particular emphasis on cases involving military law. Vokey earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Marine Corps during 21 years of service to his country. His retirement from the Marine Corps became effective Nov. 1, 2008. During his military career, Vokey earned worldwide praise for his work ethic and integrity, based in part on his work for defendants detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who faced charges stemming from the war in Iraq.[1][2][3]

Vokey has been the subject of controversy during his efforts to defend Omar Khadr one of the dozen captives held in the Guantanamo Bay detention camps, in Cuba who eventually faced charges before a Guantanamo military commission.[1] [4]

Gag order and investigation[]

In the fall of 2006 Vokey, and his paralegal Sergeant Heather Cerveny, had a gag order imposed on them after Cerveny filed an affidavit in which she described GIs in Guantanamo's enlisted club bragging about routine abuse of the captives. Muneer Ahmad, Khadr's civilian lawyer reported that Vokey and Cerveny had been ordered not to comment on conditions at Guantanamo.[5]

The report quotes a statement released on behalf of Colonel Carol Joyce, the Marines' chief defense counsel, who:

... had directed him not to communicate with the media "pending her review of the facts. This is necessary to ensure all actions of counsel are in compliance with regulations establishing professional standards for military attorneys,"

Colonel Richard Basset was the officer assigned to investigate the allegations in Cerveny's affidavit.[6][7] He returned from his investigation on November 15, 2006.[8] He submitted his report on December 10, 2006.[6][7] The report was not immediately made public.[9][10][11] A thirteen page heavily redacted summary of the inquiry was eventually made public.[12]

Within a year, the lieutenant colonel had announced his retirement from the US Marine Corps.[1]


The San Diego Union Tribune profiled Vokey following his retirement.[13] The Union Tribune noted he had been forced into retirement even though another of his clients, Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, who faces charges for the murder of two dozen civilians in Haditha, Iraq, has not had his court martial. [14] In an interview with Newsmax following his retirement, Vokey blamed policies and directives of former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for the problems at Guantanamo.[15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Daniel Zwerdling (October 31, 2007). "Respected Marine Lawyer Alleges Military Injustices". National Public Radio. Retrieved 2007-10-31. 
  2. Associated Press (April 5, 2006). "Defense lawyer wants Guantanamo trial halted". MSNBC. Retrieved 2007-04-05. 
  3. Jess Bravin (December 18, 2006). "At Guantanamo, even 'easy' cases have lingered". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2006-12-18. 
  4. Michelle Shephard (April 27, 2007). "Khadr Goes on Trial". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-04-27. 
  5. 2 Ordered Not to Discuss Gitmo Claims, Washington Post, October 14, 2006
  6. 6.0 6.1 Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation, The Guardian, December 10, 2006
  7. 7.0 7.1 Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation: U.S. Army colonel completes, turns in report on Guantanamo abuse investigation, CBS News, December 10, 2006
  8. U.S. Army colonel investigating abuse allegations returns from Guantanamo, North Carolina Times, November 16, 2006
  9. "Investigator into alleged Guantanamo abuse accuses Marine of false complaint". International Herald Tribune. February 2, 2007. Archived from the original on 2013-01-03. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  10. Michael Melia (February 7, 2007). "Military: No Gitmo Guard Abuse Evident: U.S. military investigation reports no evidence guards beat Guantanamo detainees". CBS News. Retrieved 2007-10-31. [dead link]
  11. Michael Melia (December 10, 2006). "Col. Submits Guantanamo Investigation". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-10-02. 
  12. Richard Bassett (2007-02-05). "Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 Investigation into Alleged Abuse of Detainees at Joint Task Force -- Guantanamo2009-08-04Department of DefenseGuantanamo;abuse". United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on 2009-08-04. Retrieved 2009-08-04. 
  13. Rick Rogers (2008-08-18). "Marine lawyer has sought judicial reform: Officer was retired over his objections". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 2008-08-18.  mirror
  14. Thomas Watkins (August 31, 2007). "Marine Testifies Against Ex-Squad Leader". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-08-31. 
  15. "Closing Guantanamo Good Idea, says Marine lawyer". Newsmax. November 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12. [dead link]

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