Fighting Court Martial Out Of Naval Base San Diego Isn’t Easy, But It’s A Fight Worth Fighting
It’s also a shame because the same type of initiative and “rule breaking” that is prized in combat land Sailors in serious trouble stateside. It is as if our military forgets why we exist in the first place and that is to fight and win wars. Just take WW2 Medal of Honor recipient John Willis. Serving as a Corpsman during the Battle of Iwo Jima, this guy was all over the place as he dodged mortar and sniper fire to treat wounded Marines. After becoming seriously wounded by shrapnel himself, he was officially ordered to return back to the battle-aide station.
As the battle continued to rage and knowing with each explosion was a wounded Marine in need of help, he grew frustrated with his lack of medical clearance to return to the fight. So, as any good Corpsman would do, he skipped out on medical and slipped back into the fight against direct orders to wait for medical clearance. When he got back in the fight, he returned straight to the front. The fighting was ferocious and hand-to-hand in many instances, but Willis was unfettered.
He saw a wounded Marine lying in a shell hole near the action and he rushed to offer the Marine aide. He began administering blood plasma to the Marine when a grenade landed beside them both. With his one free hand, Willis grabbed the grenade and threw it back. Then landed a 2nd grenade which he gifted back to the enemy in the same fashion. Then another and another and another. In quick succession, Willis grabbed and threw 8 live grenades back at the enemy in what was likely the most intense game of pitch and catch ever played.
Unfortunately, it was the 9th grenade that had been cooked off or had a shorter fuse as it exploded in his hand and killed him. For his actions that day, John Willis was awarded the nation’s highest military honor and it is important to note that he was only in a position to do so because he broke the rules and defied an order. Under the wrong command climate, good Sailors can be destroyed because of abuse and misuse of the UCMJ. We fight to give those Sailors their careers and their lives back.
What UCMJ Charges Can Be Defended Out Of Naval Base San Diego?
The prosecution will try to make you think otherwise, but if you can be charged with it under the UCMJ, then you can fight back and win. It’s possible, but you do have to be willing to stand up and fight. Whether you are completely innocent, or your command is simply pursuing a fickle prosecution for a relatively common mistake, your answer is the same. You give the prosecution the last thing they really want and that is a fight. Below you’ll find just a handful of the charges we defend and you’ll quickly see that we don’t scare easily. We take the cases others will not and most importantly, we take those cases and win.
- UCMJ Article 120 or Article 134 (Sex offenses) .
These cases can include rape, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, abusive sexual contact, sexual assault of a minor, indecent viewing, indecent recording, forcible pandering, indecent exposure, and other Article 120 and Article 120(c) offenses. Now, we firmly believe that victims deserve justice. However, what is taking place in the modern military is far from justice.
The crackdown on sexual misconduct has created a climate where allegations are being treated as proof of guilty and careers are being destroyed, even if there is not enough evidence for court martial. Prosecuting an innocent service member or ending their career over an allegation is not justice. If you are innocent or feel the full story is not being told, you must stand up and fight these charges or the military justice system will take everything from you.
- UCMJ Article 121 (Fraud and Larceny) .
We defend cases such as conspiracy to defraud the military, BAH fraud, OHA fraud, extortion, larceny, wrongful appropriation, and more. Whereas BAH fraud is by far one of the more common charges we defend, wrongful appropriation is right up there with it.
When a rifle or other expensive piece of gear goes missing, someone is going to have to pay. Unfortunately, it’s not always the thief that pays. You could be an NCO, officer, or just the random supply guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you let them, they will make an example out of you when you had nothing to do with the missing gear in the first place.
UCMJ Article 128 (Assault and Violent Crime) .
We defend cases such as conspiracy to defraud the military, BAH fraud, OHA fraud, extortion, larceny, wrongful appropriation, and more. The sad thing about these charges is that a rifle walks away and someone is going to have to take the fall. Unfortunately, it’s rarely the person who is actually responsible.
BAH fraud is one of the more common fraud cases we defend and we routinely see that there is more to the story here. Some military investigator fancies himself the next Sherlock Holmes and thinks they got you. When in reality, they did a shoddy investigation that won’t hold up against cross examination.
- UCMJ Article 128 (Assault and Violent Crime) .
We represent service members facing charges including murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, assault, and cases involving self-defense and defense of another. Once again, the term “drunken Sailor on shore leave” is as ubiquitous in the Navy as is the term “water.” When you preach a certain reputation long enough, don’t be surprised when young Sailors out of Naval Base San Diego try to live up to the reputation.
Fights happen in the military, they just do and there is no sense pretending otherwise. What we labor to ensure is that a simple Sailor’s fight does not end one’s career. When a makeshift weapon like a pool cue or a beer bottle gets involved, it can escalate the charges in a hurry. Don’t assume you just have to take the military justice system’s worst punishment because you did indeed grace someone’s chin with your fist. Push back on the charges and secure the best possible outcome for yourself.
- UCMJ Article 112a (Drug Crimes) .
We defend cases involving drug possession, drug distribution, drug importation, drug manufacturing, drug trafficking, positive urinalysis cases, tampering with urinalysis cases, and more. These cases often involve illegal controlled substances such as marijuana, LSD, methamphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, molly, opioids, analogues, and more.
The amount of drugs flowing across the San Diego/Tijuana border on any given day is absolutely insane. Unfortunately, our young Sailors out of Naval Base San Diego can get caught up with the wrong crowd. There is almost always a civilian influence involved who will then get away with not so much as a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, it’s our men and women in uniform who have to stand tall in front of the UCMJ and risk losing everything.
- Punitive Articles of the UCMJ 77-134 (Military Specific Offenses) .
These include charges such as fraternization, unauthorized absence (AWOL), disobeying a lawful order, conduct unbecoming an officer, and much more. The punitive articles are where we see some of the silliest and most ridiculous charges. Yes, they serve a purpose, but in the hands of a fickle command they can get downright ridiculous.
Again, with the amount of heavy brass walking around the home port of the Pacific Surface Fleet, it’s not hard to offend someone. The sad part is that they may find themselves in trouble for some article of the UCMJ that they have not heard of since basic training. The UCMJ is remarkably cumbersome and we’d go so far as to say no service member goes their entire career without violating it at some point. At Naval Base San Diego, you can find yourself in trouble for behavior that was entirely common on another installation.
How To Fight Back And Win Against Abuse And Misuse Of The UCMJ?
The UCMJ serves its rightful purpose, but one must understand that the UCMJ does not exist to pursue justice. The UCMJ exists to preserve good order and military discipline. For that to work, it requires frequent and routine “sacrificial lambs” to serve as an example to others. Meaning, your charge might seem minor to you, but if the military justice system smells an opportunity, they will take everything from you just to get their example.
It doesn’t matter if you are six months from retirement after a storied career, if they see an opportunity to scare others into compliance, they will take it. That’s why you have to present yourself as a harder target than the next guy. You have to put up a fight to let them know that they cannot make an example out of you.
At Bilecki Law Group, we put up a defense so aggressive, it’s a shame not to call it an offense. We take the fight right to the heart of the military justice system and show it no quarter. That’s because you cannot coexist with a military justice system that is out to destroy you. We know you may love the military and love your career. You just have to understand that when the military justice system sets its sights on you, that relationship gets complicated in a hurry.
If you are out of Naval Base San Diego and are facing court martial or investigation, reach out to us for a free consultation. Our HQ is in Tampa, but our AOR is anywhere in the world where a service member is willing to fight back against abuse and misuse of the UCMJ. Clients routinely fly us in from all over the world to defend them and that includes places as far off as Europe, South Korea, and the Middle East. They bring us in because we know how to fight.
Please don’t assume the military justice system is going to take it easy on you and please don’t assume the max punishment is off the table. They are going to have to give that max punishment to someone this year to get their example and if you let them, they will do that to you. Give us a call and get us into the fight. Finally, a salute to Corpsman John Willis and the fortitude it took to use one hand to save a life and the other to toss back grenades to the enemy. That fighting spirit embodies why you joined the Navy and we’re going to continue that fight spirit to save your career, retirement, and your freedom.
FAQ'S About California Military Legal Defense
Drug crimes, mainly possession, use, and distribution, have long been a problem in California, especially with the confusion of its legalization in the state. Sexual assault charges remain incredibly high, as do assault charges and fraud against the government.
Bilecki Law Group are court martial lawyers who have defended service members against all offenses under the UCMJ in California. If you’ve been accused of any crime under the UCMJ, contact our law offices immediately for a confidential consultation.
We travel to California every year to represent our military clients. We can also send support staff such as investigators and forensic specialists should the need arise. We often travel to Fort Irwin, Twentynine Palms, Travis Air Force Base, Edwards Air Force Base, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, MCRD, San Diego and others.