Former sailor sues Navy secretary over discharge characterization

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Jul 22, 2015

Ray Mabus  

PITTSBURGH - A former member of the armed forces is suing over a requested change in his discharge characterization, alleging that an error was made in military discharge proceedings.

Matthew Denver filed a lawsuit on July 9 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania against Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, alleging violations of constitutional rights and Navy regulations.

Denver served in the United States Navy from 1979 to 1983, when he was discharged for alleged marijuana use and possession. The suit alleged that Denver was required to testify against himself at the administrative discharge board hearing, which violated Navy regulations and his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Denver alleged that since 2012 he has made numerous requests to the Board of Correction of Naval Records (BCNR) for a correction of his "other than honorable" discharge classification -- all of which were denied.

Denver seeks a judicial review of the BCNR decision, a reversal of BCNR's decision, a change in his discharge characterization, and attorney fees and costs. He is represented by Jason W. Manne, an adjunct professor of law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania case No.: 2:15-cv-00890-AJS.

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