For Marine Captain Brian Magee, enrolling in the inaugural class for the Master of Laws Degree in Federal Criminal Practice and Procedure was, well, something of a no-brainer. For him, the LL.M. is a custom fit.
“One of my professors from [the University of] Georgia who ran the prosecutorial clinic there sent me the flyer on Mercer’s criminal LL.M. program,” Magee says. “I saw that and thought, ‘Perfect.’ Whether I stay in the military or go out into practice, what I want to do is prosecution.”
He isn’t exactly a novice at it. A judge advocate and military justice officer, he’s been on active duty in South Carolina since 2008 as senior prosecutor for Parris Island and the Marine Corps’ Eastern Recruiting Region.
“We’re in charge of all the recruiters east of the Mississippi River,” he explains. Overseeing four prosecutors, he has handled cases of misconduct involving recruiters from Florida to Maine.
“I’d say 95 percent of my caseload has involved some sort of sexual misconduct,” Magee says. A high point of his work came in May 2011. His solo prosecution of a contested, high-profile child pornography case resulted in a sentence of 20 years’ confinement. “To date,” he says, “that’s the largest or most severe sentence for that kind of case in the military.”
Magee’s enrollment in Mercer Law School’s first-ever LL.M. program came about as a result of a Marine initiative that sends select members of the Corps to civilian or military schools to earn additional degrees. This particular degree will amplify Magee’s skills as a prosecutor.
That interest was first sparked by a mock trial team during high school. “For those mock trial cases it was always fun to be the government,” he says. “It was always interesting to be the one wearing the white hat, at least from my perspective — the fighter, the pursuer of justice.”
Magee, 31, comes from South Carolina to Macon with his family. His wife, Kelli, will have plenty to keep her busy too, caring for a three children all under three years old. Luckily, the relocation comes with some built-in help.
“We’ve got family close to Macon,” Magee says with a laugh, “so that’s definitely a positive. Plus, I’ll be home with family more than I am now.”