Thomas P. Setser is a Senior Associate in the law Tully Rinckey PLLC and practices from its office in Buffalo, New York. He has gained a rich courtroom experience in all matters of litigation by serving as a military defense counsel, civilian counsel and Assistant District Attorney in the last 19 years.
He started his legal career in October 1999 as U. S. Navy Judge Advocate and served on active duty as a military defense counsel, legal assistance attorney, discipline officer, and brig officer until November 2003. He provided free legal advice on a variety of civil legal issues including estate planning to retirees, active duty members, and their dependents. He represented the command at administrative hearings and answered congressional inquiries.
After leaving active duty, he opened a private practice and continued his military service as a Navy Reservist. In his general practice during January 2004 – June 2010, he represented clients in criminal & civil litigation, contract disputes, domestic relation issues, felony and misdemeanor trials, employment discrimination cases, administrative hearings, and business incorporation & management.
He served as an Assistant District Attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit of Mississippi during October 2011 – April 2012 and obtained extensive civilian litigation experience. He prosecuted many felony cases including armed robbery, aggravated assault and sexual assault of a minor.
He also reviewed law enforcement investigations to present to a grand jury and represented the State at civil hearings for property seized during drug arrests as well as against probation violators.
The U.S. Navy recalled him to active duty, and he served as the legal advisor to a two-star command. He became deputy Staff Judge Advocate upon completing his orders, and then the Staff Judge Advocate to a Joint Command and managed the process for reviewing the status of the detainees held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Serving as military defense counsel, he represented Sailors and Marines at all stages of military justice from Article 15 review to General Courts-Martial representation and service members at numerous administrative separation boards. The authorities also appointed him as an article 32 hearing officer.
He has reviewed numerous investigations and provided advice for the referral to Article 15, Courts-Martial, administrative separation, etc. He has also trained Summary Courts-Martial officers to excel in their services and has represented Commands as a prosecutor to administrative separation boards.
Thomas Setser has also advised multiple Commands on contracts, Command investigations, ethics, and military justice. As a legal assistance attorney, both on active duty and in the reserves, he has handled matters like preparing Wills and powers of attorney to service members, retirees, and their dependents on many civilian legal issues, including immigration.
He has represented over 100 criminal clients as a solo practitioner and negotiated favorable guilty pleas, argued motions affecting evidence at trials and bail or bond, and tried cases to verdict, both misdemeanor and felony cases. He has also represented clients in divorce petitions, contempt hearings, in front of state licensing boards and civil actions, both at the State and Federal level.
He has successfully settled a Federal civil action for non-accommodation of a disabled person and race discrimination. He has also represented minors in juvenile justice hearings and acted as guardian ad litem for children in abuse or neglect situations.
He has litigated many contract disputes including a successful appeal to the Mississippi Supreme Court. The court appointed him to file appellate briefs on behalf of criminal defendants who could not afford an attorney.
He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing from the Mississippi State University and his Juris Doctorate from the Mississippi School of Law in 1996 and 1999 respectively.
He has obtained the membership of the Mississippi Bar Association and the U.S. Navy Reserve. He has served as the board member of the American Red Cross in its Vicksburg Area Chapter as well as the King George Little League and vice president of its Challenger’s division.
He is a former grand knight of Council 898 of the Knights of Columbus; and an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Thomas P. Setser has won several military awards such as Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and many Unit and expeditionary citations and awards.
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