Heyl Royster


Heyl Royster



Schag Appointed Military Trial Judge


At a robing and investiture ceremony held on April 29, Mike Schag assumed the position of trial judge with the Air Force. The ceremony was the culmination of the 59th Military Judge Course (59th MJC) at the Army JAG School. Attendees at the 59th MJC included incoming judges from all service branches (Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard) at both the trial and appellate levels, as well as two judges from Pakistan. The Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Bob Goodlatte, addressed the group, and the 44th Hodson Lecture was given by former Chief Judge James Baker of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces.  There were several other distinguished guests and speakers. 

Schag was the only Reservist selected for the position. He has been involved in litigation with the Air Force for approximately 22 years. During his early years as an active duty officer, he represented the Air Force in environmental litigation, tort claims, contract disputes and also was a military prosecutor. He graduated from the Air Force JAG School's Trial Advocacy Course and Advanced Trial Advocacy Course. He became qualified for capital litigation after having been selected to attend the Navy JAG School's Capital Litigation Course. Schag went on to become the Area Defense Counsel in Denver, CO and then served as a Circuit Defense Counsel in Washington D.C., trying complex and high-visibility cases around the country. Schag has performed duties as an evidence consultant for trials having international and operational dimensions and served in quasi-judicial capacities presiding over summary courts, grand jury hearings and administrative boards. 

For 14 years, Schag has been a member of the Air Force's innovative TRIALS Program, which is a National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA)-based training initiative. One of his programs at Yokota AB, Japan was featured as a television news item on the Armed Forces Network (AFN). As a military judge, Schag's duties will consist mainly of presiding over general  and special courts-martial. It is an interesting time to be in this role as many challenges lay ahead. The last major reform to military justice came by virtue of the Military Justice Act of 1968, and some significant charges are currently under debate to possibly appear in the next National Defense Authorization Act.