Friday, March 24, 2006
Candidate Received Less-Than-Honorable Discharge, Records Show
Army Panel Said Robert Davenport, Now Running for Superior
Court, Misrepresented His Record
[Discharge Was Subsequently Upgraded to 'Honorable' Based on Panel Being Improperly Constituted]
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
A Los Angeles Superior Court candidate who sought to run with the ballot designation “Retired Judge Advocate” or “U.S. Judge Advocate” was actually discharged from military service for misstating his qualifications for the Judge Advocate General’s Corps and making other misrepresentations, records show.
Court documents and military records indicate that Robert Davenport, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Judge Barbara Burke, was an active naval officer from 1973 to 1977 and a reserve officer from 1977 to 1982, which encompassed the years of his law school attendance.
Records further show that he was honorably discharged from the Navy for having twice failed to earn promotion.
In 1990, records show, he applied to the Army Reserve and was commissioned a judge advocate. But in 2002, he was given a discharge “under other than honorable conditions” after a panel of officers found that he failed to advise the Army of his prior discharge and to obtain the waiver required when an officer discharged from another service branch seeks an Army reserve commission.
The panel also found that Davenport had failed to report for duty furnishing legal services in his Navy Reserve unit; was photographed wearing an unauthorized military ribbon; “misrepresented his military awards on numerous occasions in resumes and biographies;” falsely claimed academic honors that he did not achieve; knowingly failed to correct an error in the computation of his retirement points; and had been reprimanded for falsely stating, in connection with his “request for orders for” Army Reserve duty, that he was not receiving disability benefits.
Davenport, who has not returned MetNews phone calls in recent days, protested the action on the ground that the board was not legally constituted, since none of its members were on active duty at the time. A captain in the Army Office of the Inspector General agreed, but informed Davenport that because he was no longer in service, any relief would have to come from the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.
It could not be immediately determined whether Davenport sought any such relief. [Subsequent to publication of this article, it was ascertained that in November, 2004, the discharge was upgraded to "honorable."]
Two years ago, he sued the Navy, seeking reinstatement at the “highest military grade previously held.” He claimed that he had been approved for a change in status from naval flight officer to JAG officer after graduating from law school—which the Navy denied—and that he should not have been discharged.
U.S. District Judge Gary A. Feess dismissed the suit, noting that it was filed “more than twenty years after [Davenport’s] original discharge, and almost ten years after the final administrative decision” in which the Board of Correction of Naval Records rejected his bid for reinstatement. The lawsuit, Feess ruled, was thus barred by the six-year statute of limitations governing suits against the federal government.
Davenport’s bid to include the words “judge advocate” in his ballot designation was rejected Wednesday by the registrar’s office, which accepted an alternate designation of “Disabled Veteran/Attorney.” Documents show that Davenport was awarded partial disability benefits as a result of a service-connected foot condition caused by a fungus.
Davenport’s opponent, Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Daniel Lowenthal, said the alternative designation was probably unauthorized because being a disabled veteran is a status rather than an occupation or profession. But Lowenthal also indicated that he was unsure whether it would be worthwhile to initiate a legal challenge.
Davenport, a member of the State Bar of California since 1987, has not practiced in California courts. In earlier interviews, he said he worked in the entertainment industry for a number of years, and now earns his living as an author.
His best-known work, which is available for purchase from a number of online booksellers, is “Roots of the Rich and Famous,” in which he traces the genealogy of a number of celebrities.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company