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500+ Successful Court Cases & Counting: See Reviews ➔
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January 2012
Tim Bilecki

Marine Fast-Tracked for OTH Discharge for Hazing, Bilecki Gets Charges Dismissed

Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii
Marine Corps Lance Corporal - E-3
All charges dismissed.

Possibly second only to the military’s war on sexual assault, the Marine Corps and Army have recently taken an aggressive posture on hazing cases, as demonstrated by the fact that our office has defended numerous courts martial for hazing in the first half of the year alone — winning all of those cases.

In this case, the government tried to get our client to sign a “fast track” disposition without having the Marine ever consult with an attorney. A “fast track,” as it is known in the Marine Corps, is when the command threatens to charge a Marine with a Special or General Court Martial but offers him a deal to send the charges to a Summary Court Martial if the Marine will agree to an administrative separation with an Other Thank Honorable (OTH) Discharge and plead guilty at a Summary Court Martial and receive 30 days in the brig.

Here, the commander and First Sergeant tried to strong-arm the Marine into taking a “fast track” while out in the field and unable to speak with an attorney. Our client used a cell phone in the field to contact Bilecki Law Group for a consultation.  He was able to speak with attorney Tim Bilecki, and immediately and took pictures, using the iPhone, of the “fast track” letter as well as the charge sheet and sent those to Mr. Bilecki to review. The command refused to allow the Marine to see any of the evidence against him and tried to force him into a Summary Court Martial and OTH without ever looking at the evidence.

Mr. Bilecki started working the night we were retained and learned that the “hazing” simply involved the Marine using the butt of his rifle to wake up a Private First Class who was apparently sleeping while on guard duty while at the Mojave Viper exercise. It seemed beyond belief that the Marines would charge a Lance Corporal with hazing for waking up a junior Marine who was sleeping on guard duty.  In a combat environment, someone falling asleep on guard duty would be lucky to only get awakened up with the butt of a rifle, but this Marine command consider this hazing.

Mr. Bilecki immediately contacted the chain of command and the prosecutor’s office and turned down the “fast track,” demanding a jury trial. Our office is still confident enough in the court martial process to believe that a panel of senior Marines would refuse to convict a fellow Marine for simply doing his duty, with or without the butt of a rifle. They are Marines, after all.  After demanding a jury trial, the government waived the white flag and dropped all charges against our client. This Marine continued to proudly serve in the United States Marine Corps.

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