Bethany L. Payton-O’Brien and Ryan J. Sears have fought zealously against the most serious crimes punishable under the military criminal system for years. They have represented service members all over the world not just in court proceedings but during intense investigations where commands decide whether to bring charges against a servicemember in the first place. They know what it takes to be successful at every level of the military’s criminal defense system having represented flag-level officers and senior enlisted members in cases that have garnered national media attention. Beth has previously served as both a trial and appellate judge for the Navy and Marine Corps while Ryan has just been hand-selected to serve as a reserve military judge for the Navy and Marine Corps trial judiciary.
Beth and Ryan have both spent extensive time during their military careers serving as prosecutors so they understand what the government will need to prove to succeed in their cases, and, in turn, what problems the government is going to have in proving cases against the defendant, or accused, at a court martial. They were so successful in the courtroom while on active duty, they were both selected to serve tours as the head prosecutor, or senior trial counsel, for their areas of operation. Ryan also served as the senior defense counsel for the Navy for Northeast United States during his career as well as executive officer of his unit for reserve defense counsel in the Western United States and Pacific. Criminal prosecutions are the most stressful event in a service member’s life, and you need someone who understands not only how to approach the case as a defense counsel, but also what the prosecutor and military judge will be thinking. Beth and Ryan are those attorneys. Allow their experience and successes to work for you in defending your freedom and future from an unjust result.
Ryan J. Sears
Military Defense Lawyer Ryan J. Sears has spent the last sixteen years advocating for those who need it most – those accused of wrongdoing and those who cannot fight for themselves. A graduate of Emory University, Ryan attended Washington University School of Law where he received the Judge Samuel Calhoun Scholarship and captained the school’s NITA mock trial team. While in law school, Ryan commissioned in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps and committed himself to the future service of his country. He subsequently served tours as a senior trial counsel (prosecutor), senior defense counsel for the entire Northeastern United States, trial counsel, and defense counsel. He defended and prosecuted servicemembers in some of the most high-profile cases in the Navy, including matters that received coverage by The Washington Post, Jacksonville Times Union, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times.
The Law Office of Ryan J. Sears, LLC is a sole proprietor.
Bethany L. Payton-O’Brien
Military Defense Attorney Bethany Payton-O’Brien is a former military trial and appellate judge. She has been practicing military and criminal law for 25 years. She served in the United States Navy for almost 23 years. Since her retirement from the Navy in 2017, she has been in private practice providing legal representation to military members (active, reservists, ROTC students, and former members), civilian employees, contractors, and retirees. Bethany Payton-O’Brien focuses on on military and security clearance matters, including litigation, criminal law, ROTC disenrollment hearings, and administrative law (NJP, administrative boards, medical privileging boards, letters of reprimand, IG investigation). She also represents clients before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, the Board of Veterans Appeals, as well as all military review boards and trial courts. Bethany has prosecuted and defended numerous high profile cases, including matters that have received coverage by the San Diego Union Tribune, Military Times, Business Insider, and San Diego CBS News 8. Bethany Payton-O’Brien brings experience, aggressiveness and a commitment to protecting the rights of her clients.