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April 2020
Tim Bilecki

Bilecki’s Firm Stance Averts AdSep for Navy NCO, Sailor Honorably Discharged

Wrongful Use of a Controlled Substance, DUI
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii
Navy Chief Petty Officer – E-7
Administrative Separation Board Withdrawn. Sailor Honorably Discharged.

After a Navy Chief Petty Officer received non-judicial punishment (NJP) for wrongful use of a controlled substance, his command initiated an administrative separation board, aiming to potentially discharge him with less than an honorable discharge. Civilian defense counsel Tim Bilecki was retained to represent the Sailor in response to this action. Surprisingly, the command then withdrew the administrative separation board.

The command’s decision to withdraw the administrative separation board came after Bilecki began aggressively preparing for the case, including filing discovery requests and interviewing witnesses, signaling a robust defense effort. The realization that they faced a formidable challenge likely influenced the command’s decision. The withdrawal, while within legal bounds, was a strategic move to avoid the possibility of the board ruling in the Sailor’s favor. By withdrawing the board, the command ensured the Sailor’s separation from the Navy, bypassing a formal hearing process that could have allowed him to contest the separation and potentially retain his position.

This action effectively barred the Sailor from reenlistment as he neared the end of his contract. Given the circumstances, there was little that could be done legally to challenge the command’s decision to deny reenlistment, as these decisions fall outside the purview of what could be contested through the administrative separation process. Consequently, the Sailor received an honorable discharge from the Navy. Despite the end of his active-duty career, the Sailor’s discharge status included a favorable reentry code (RE code) of RE-1, enabling him to join a reserve unit and continue his service in a different capacity.

This situation reflects the complex dynamics and strategic maneuvers often involved in military legal matters, where decisions not only impact the immediate future of service members but also their long-term career opportunities and connection to military service.

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