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August 2009
Tim Bilecki

Army SSG in Japan Cleared of Codeine Misuse After Innocent Ingestion Defense

Wrongful use of Codeine
Camp Zama, Japan
Army Staff Sergeant - E-6
No charges preferred

Maximum Sentence:

  • DD
  • 5 years confinement
  • Total forfeiture
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Federal Felony Conviction
  • Loss of Retirement

In a challenging case at Camp Zama, Japan, an Army Staff Sergeant was confronted with allegations of wrongful use of Codeine. Initially offered a Field Grade Article 15, the Staff Sergeant made the bold decision to refuse the administrative action and instead demanded a trial by court-martial.

Entering the case as the Staff Sergeant’s court-martial lawyer, Mr. Tim Bilecki conducted a thorough investigation, unearthing key elements of the case. Bilecki’s strategy involved leveraging an innocent ingestion defense, which posits that the accused unknowingly or inadvertently ingested the controlled substance.

Bilecki’s aggressive approach included demanding a court-martial trial where the Staff Sergeant could assert his innocence. In preparation for a potential trial, Bilecki requested witnesses from distant locations such as Puerto Rico and Diego Garcia, demonstrating the defense’s commitment to presenting a robust and comprehensive argument.

Faced with the prospect of a vigorously defended trial and the plausible innocent ingestion defense, the prosecution reconsidered their position. Ultimately, they chose not to proceed with charging the Soldier, resulting in no charges being preferred. This outcome not only saved the Staff Sergeant’s career but also underscored the importance of a determined and strategic legal defense in military justice proceedings.

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