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August 2016
Tim Bilecki

Bilecki Gets Full Acquittal for E-7 in Hazing Case Involving Suicide

Criminal bullying and hazing
Yokota AFB, Japan
Air Force E-7
Full Acquittal – Not Guilty of All Charges and Specifications.

Our client was an old-school C-130 maintainer who had spent much of his career in the AFSOC community and was regarded as one of the best C-130 maintainers in the Air Force.  After assignments with AFSOC, he was PCS’d to Yokota AFB and worked as a DOC chief in the ISODOC, where he was responsible for the routine and scheduled maintenance of C-130s.  He was a tough but fair leader who was mission first and demanded the best from his Airmen – many of whom were fresh out to Tech school with no real-world experience and who can best be described as… soft.

An Airman in the unit had committed suicide, which brought about an investigation.  During the investigation, a small group of Airmen – most right out of Tech School – complained about how they were treated by our client and made allegations that the Airman who committed suicide did so because our client was too tough on him (though the suicide investigation showed that the suicide was wholly unrelated to our client or his actions).  During the investigation, these Airman made complaints against our client, ranging from getting yelled at for poor performance, being told not to play fantasy football in the break room while on duty, having to mop the hangar floor, being given nicknames and being corrected for in front of other Airman for generally lacking basic discipline and customs and courtesies.  There was essentially a mutiny among the junior Airmen to take out their NCO because they were undisciplined, and our client held them accountable.

Instead of handling this matter with counseling or Article 15, the command sought to cover itself because there was a suicide and charged our client at a court martial. Our client was being scapegoated.  

Court martial lawyer Tim Bilecki was retained to fight back, clear our client’s name and allow him to retire.  After being retained, Mr. Bilecki quickly flew to Japan and conducted his own investigation. During this investigation, we interviewed dozens of witnesses, put together our theory of defense and prepared to win at trial.  The prosecution came to us and offered to drop the charges if our client would accept Chapter 4 and essentially forfeit his retirement.  The defense team said no.  After conducting own investigation, Bilecki knew that our client was being scapegoated by his command for the suicide because he was a tough leader who didn’t tolerate incompetence from his junior Airmen.  

Prior to trial, Mr. Bilecki litigated numerous motions and was able to keep all mention of the suicide out of trial as there was absolutely no showing that it was connected to our client.  After that victory, Mr. Bilecki skillfully cross-examined each of the witnesses against our client, exposing them as weak Airmen who lacked integrity and simply could not handle a tough but fair NCO.  In addition, Mr. Bilecki called numerous senior NCOs to testify regarding our client’s outstanding duty performance, his leadership style and evidence showing that many of the allegations made against our client by the junior Airmen did not occur.

In the end, the jury saw through the nonsense and fully acquitted our client.

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