What You’re Up Against: The Court Martial Process in Japan
Facts and the Truth Aren’t Always Enough to Obtain Victory in a Court
What you expect to find in a court of law is justice. You expect that the
facts will prove your case. You assume that the jury will understand,
and that there’s very little the prosecution can do with the evidence
The truth, however, is not nearly as optimistic. We’ve seen many
service members walk into their court martial with this misunderstanding,
and they all come out with the same realization: that they should have
done more to prepare before their trial date.
The truth isn’t going to protect you in court. Alibis, excuses, and
evidence won’t either. A discount defense counsel, or some recent
law school graduate working in the JAG Corps, isn’t always going
to help you. Depending on the crime, when the government sets its sights
on you, there’s very little you can do to defend yourself. Criminal
activities that were rarely prosecuted a few years ago have become targets
for commands, prosecutors and Congress. Law enforcement has become
proactive in searching for “criminals” to convict, and once they find
them, they’ll visit your records and start asking questions to see
if there are any additional “victims” to dig up.
We’ve been in this business a long time, and we’ve seen nearly
every underhanded trick in the government’s playbook. Below are
just a few of the more notorious examples of how military prosecutorial
try to win at all costs.
Special Victim Prosectors Are the Best and Brightest in the JAG Corps—and
They’re Out for Your Blood
You’d think the government would save their most talented judge advocates
for the defense teams. On the contrary, they’ve been assigned to
handle the growing flood of “sexual assault” and sex crime
cases. It doesn’t matter that true incidents of sexual assault in
the military are at their lowest level since 2006. If the government has
even an inkling of evidence pointing you to an instance of sexual assault,
then you’ll be facing off against some of the best-trained legal
minds in the U.S. Military.
An SVP has more training and a better understanding of the law than most
of the defense counsels assigned to defend military service members in
court. This is by design, not chance. In most cases you’ll be provided
a court martial attorney just out of law school, with only a handful of
cases tried in court. And the more “experienced” attorneys
are often no better. Their case history is likely filled with clients
that have pleaded guilty to their crimes. That isn’t exactly the
defense counsel that you want to have when you’re facing a possible
sentence that includes prison time and mandatory sign up as a sex offender.
One SVP is Enough to Win the Case. Expect to See
Two or More Prosecutors at Your Trial
You read that right. It is common practice for the government to send two
or more prosecutors to any trial involving asexual assault. Or, if the
case doesn’t involve sexual assault, a highly trained and experienced
Senior Trial Counsel (STC) will pick it up. Again, this is a strategic
decision by the U.S. Government to secure as many convictions as possible.
In the eyes of government officials, you’re already guilty, so they’re
not at all squeamish about throwing you under the bus and using your conviction
as proof to drum up more money in their pursuit of the “War on Sexual
That’s only just the beginning unfortunately. The prosecution also
has an army of legal consultants, paralegal support, a Staff Judge Advocate,
a Deputy Staff Judge Advocate, and trained law enforcement investigators
prepared to take on your case at a moment’s notice. And what does
your issued defense counsel receive you ask? Typically one paralegal assistant,
and maybe not even that.
Your Military Defense Counsel Cannot Match the Government’s Budget
The seemingly endless amount of money the government will use to convict
you comes from deep-pocketed lobbyists and high-minded “philanthropists”
that are keen on changing policy and stopping perceived sexual assault
crimes by making examples of others. This may sound nice in theory, but
in practice it often means innocent service members are going to prison.
Your defense team typically won’t see a penny of this money. So while
the prosecution has the means to fly out witnesses from wherever they
are, and pay for expensive forensic testing at their own private investigative
lab, you’ll only receive the scraps that fall off the table.
Law Enforcement Would Rather Protect Their Paychecks Than the Innocence
of an Accused
Law enforcement members are always the first ones to investigate a crime.
But while you may think they’re looking for the truth, the reality
is they’re looking for evidence that will put you behind bars. They’ll
even go so far as to
ignore inconvenient evidence and testimony that says otherwise, or twist that
evidence to ensure the jury sees it the way they want to see it, not how
it really is.
Meanwhile, while they’re building a case against you, they’ll
sit you down and politely ask you a few “innocent” questions.
They’ll ask for your cooperation and tell you that if you do what
they ask you won’t have a problem. This, of course, is a complete
lie, and the more open you are about the case, the more they’ll
have to secure a conviction in court. If a service member agrees to take
a polygraph test, and the test shows that the service member is telling
the truth, interrogators may lie outright and say it came back false.
Anything that will secure a conviction quickly and allow them to move
on to the next case is fair game in their book.
The Prosecution has Dedicated Access to the USACIL Labs. You, On the Other
Hand, Are Out of Luck
The United States Army Criminal Investigative Lab (USACIL) is one of the
most advanced forensic testing facilities in the world. It’s also
one of the most exclusive. You’d expect that in a fair trial, the
government would provide lab access to both the defense and the prosecution
for testing. This, of course, isn’t the case. Even a military-issued
defense counsel will have a hard time accessing these facilities.
Other facilities that specialize in specific areas of research and evidence
are also difficult to utilize by the accused service member and his legal
counsel. The Defense Computer Forensic Lab, the Tripler Army Medical Center
Drug Testing Facility, and the Walter Reed Institute of Research are just
a few of the facilities that the prosecution has complete access too,
and you do not.
Government Making Deals for Witness Testimony—It’s All in a
The government has the option to offer deals to witnesses that will speak
against you in court. Those deals include reduced jail time, more lenient
sentencing, and even total immunity from legal action against them. If
the defense even considered offering a witness something tangible on the
side for positive testimony, they’d be highly scrutinized –
to say the least. It seems that once again, the government holds all the cards.
These witnesses can cause an immense amount of damage to you and your court
martial case. To defeat them, you need a defense attorney that is skilled
at cross-examination. When it comes to cases like this, the only way to
successfully secure a not-guilty verdict is to catch the witness in a
lie, thus undermining his or her testimony in the eyes of the jury.
You Won’t be Detailed an Attorney Until
After Charges are Preferred
Waiting to hire a lawyer is one of the most harmful things a service member
can do while being investigated for a crime. He or she may be told by
investigators that the investigation is a formality and that charges may
not be brought up at all. In reality, law enforcement is already building
a case, keeping the service member completely in the dark until it’s too late.
The longer law enforcement can postpone your hiring a defense counsel,
the more likely they are to win the case, or even get you to confess to
the crime. This is why we always recommend you contact an attorney
as soon as you realize you’re suspected of a crime or being investigated. Not doing so could put your defense attorney months behind the prosecution.
Leads dry up, evidence disappears, and sooner or later its possible you’ll
have no recourse but to plead guilty.
A Defense Counsel Issued by the Government is Still Working Within the System
Defense attorneys just starting out in the military are well aware of just
how easy the prosecution has it. Access to the best forensic specialists,
infinite staff at their disposal, and advancing the desires and goals
of the senior staff are all benefits of working for the prosecution.
So it comes as no surprise that some of these defense attorneys are just
trying to “put in their time” until they can secure their
next assignment. And since they aren’t interested in burning any
bridges in the meantime, they’ll be hesitant to do what it takes
to win the case for their client. Essentially, they’re in a position
where they’re told to fight the system, while still being part of
This highlights one of the reasons why both Mr. Bilecki and Mr. Tipon chose
to leave the military and pursue careers as defense attorneys in the civilian
world. You can’t possibly fight the system while you’re still
a part of it.
The Government Doesn’t Think You Deserve a Fair Shot at a Trial.
But We Do.
You deserve to be represented by an aggressive and highly capable team
of defense attorneys at your trial. You deserve to even the odds with
tried and true gunslingers. If you’ve chosen to fight the charges
brought against you by the military, and you know exactly what’s
at stake if you lose, then we want to hear from you.
The law firm of Bilecki & Tipon takes calls 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week. The sooner you make that call, the sooner we can set you up with
an initial consultation, and the sooner we can begin our pre-trial assessment
and investigation into your case.
Call TODAY at (800) 996-9747 and together we’ll take the fight to the prosecution.