United States District Court, D. Columbia.
GEORGE WILLIAM REEDER, Plaintiff: Raymond J. Toney, LEAD
ATTORNEY, THE LAW OFFICE OF RAYMOND J. TONEY, Woodland, CA;
David Patrick Sheldon, LAW OFFICES OF DAVID P. SHELDON,
P.L.L.C., Washington, DC.
DEBORAH LEE JAMES, Honorable, Secretary of the Air Force,
Defendant: Claire M. Whitaker, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S.
ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, Washington, DC.
F. Hogan, Senior United States District Judge.
George William Reeder (" Reeder" ) served in the
United States Air Force from 1982 until 1998. He met and
married fellow Air Force member Staff Sergeant Linda Graybill
(" Graybill" ) while serving at Incirlik Air Base
in Turkey. Unfortunately, by all accounts, their relationship
was dysfunctional and abusive. During the marriage, Graybill
accused Reeder of giving her a black eye, and Reeder's
commander found him guilty of that offense. Later, Reeder was
found guilty of additional offenses related to the aftermath
of the first offense. After being honorably discharged from
the Air Force, Reeder appealed to the Air Force Board for
Correction of Military Records (" AFBCMR" or "
the Board" ) seeking review of the
commander's decisions. The AFBCMR upheld the
commander's decisions, and Reeder then filed this lawsuit
seeking review of the AFBCMR's decisions under the
Administrative Procedures Act (" APA" ).
Reeder's Relationship with Graybill, Allegations of
Abuse, and Reeder's First Non-Judicial
enlisted in the United States Air Force and began active duty
service on June 4, 1982. Am. Compl. ¶ 19 [ECF No. 11],
Reeder met Graybill on Thanksgiving Day, 1995; they were
married on June 18, 1996 and divorced on April 21, 1997. Am.
Compl. ¶ 24. On July 15, 1996, Major Roger Parsons, one
of Reeder's commanders, filed a letter of reprimand
against Reeder after Graybill alleged that he had damaged and
disposed of some of his wife's clothes and photographs
without her permission. See Administrative Record
(" A.R." ) at 362. Reeder denied those allegations,
but later admitted that he gave away some men's clothing
he found in Graybill's apartment while she was away on a
temporary duty assignment. See A.R. at 345.
August 9, 1996, Graybill sustained a black eye. See
A.R. at 176, 341. On August 15, 1996, Graybill reported to a
military police officer that Reeder had punched her in the
eye. See A.R. 176, 307. She also alleged that
Reeder had beat her on their wedding night. Id.
On August 15, 1996, based on Graybill's allegations,
Reeder's commander, Major Kobayashi, issued an order
directing Reeder to have no contact with Graybill
(hereinafter referred to as " the no-contact order"
). Am. Compl. ¶ 25; A.R. at 173. On August 22, 1996,
Major Kobayashi notified Reeder that he intended to impose
non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code
of Military Justice (" UCMJ" ) for the alleged
battery. Am. Compl. ¶ 27; A.R. at 179.
was represented by counsel, decided to waive his right to
trial by court-martial, and elected to proceed with
non-judicial punishment. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 28-29. On
September 4, 1996, Reeder presented a lengthy written
statement to Major Kobayashi recounting his version of the
events of August 9, 1996, where he admitted he caused her
injury, and a detailed picture of his relationship with
Graybill. A.R. at 341-51. Reeder contended that Graybill was
the sole aggressor in their relationship, and that she
consistently abused him but he never abused her. Id.
Reeder insisted that Graybill sustained the black eye because
he was defending himself
when she attacked him. Id. Reeder also submitted
several statements from individuals who had observed
Graybill's harsh and abusive treatment of Reeder. A.R. at
313-339. On September 11, 1996, Major Kobayashi directed that
Reeder undergo a mental health evaluation. Am. Compl. ¶
37. On October 2, 1996, Major Kobayahsi conducted the
non-judicial punishment hearing and found Reeder guilty of
the offense of battery. A.R. at 179-182. He sentenced Reeder
to a reduction in grade to Senior Airman, but suspended the
sentence until April 1, 1997, so that the sentence would not
take effect if he did not commit any further offenses during
the time of suspension.
Reeder's Second Non-Judicial Punishment
August 22, 1996, while the no-contact order was still in
place, Reeder called Graybill's mother to find out if she
knew where Graybill was and to inquire whether Graybill
intended to stay married. PL's Cross-Mot. Summ. J. [ECF
No. 14] 15; see also AR 323. When Reeder called
Graybill's mother, she informed Reeder that Graybill was
at her home, asked if he wanted to speak with her, and then
gave Graybill the phone. Id. at 13-14. Reeder then
spoke with Graybill for fifteen to twenty minutes. A.R. at
64. Reeder contends that he did not intentionally violate the
no-contact order, and that he did not know Graybill would be
there when he called Graybill's mother. A.R. at 374-75.
On September 6, 1996, Major Kobayashi notified Reeder that he
intended to impose non-judicial punishment under Article 15
for violating the no-contact order. A.R. at 25-26; PL's
Cross-Mot. Summ. J. 16. On October 30, 1996, Major Kobayashi
found Reeder guilty of disobeying a lawful order and ordered
the punishment of " [forfeiture of $150.00 pay per month
for 2 months." PL's Cross-Mot. Summ. J. 16; see
also A.R. at 26.
Major Kobayashi found Reeder guilty of violating the
no-contact order, Graybill's mother submitted a written
statement supporting Reeder's version of the events.
See A.R. at 366; see also A.R. at 368
(" I was to blame for [Reeder talking to Graybill], He
told me at the beginning that he wasn't supposed to talk
to her because he had an order not to -- I just handed her
the phone." ).
Vacation of Suspension of Reeder's First
October 8, 1996, Reeder drank alcohol excessively and cut his
wrists in an apparent suicide attempt. PL's Cross-Mot.
Summ. J. 17; see also A.R. at 46, 203-205.
Reeder's roommate found him intoxicated and bleeding.
A.R. at 203-205. Reeder threw an empty wine bottle at his
roommate and told him to leave him alone so he could "
do what he had to do." Id. The roommate stated
that Reeder had been depressed about the Article 15s and had
made jokes previously about killing himself. Id. The
roommate called for help and Reeder was transported to the
hospital by Turkish police. While in the hospital, Reeder was
visited by a Senior Airman and a Master Sergeant. In their
presence, Reeder used profane and disrespectful
language. On November 7, 1996, Major Kobayashi
notified him that he was considering whether to vacate the
suspension of Reeder's punishment of reduction in rank
because of the disrespectful language Reeder used while in
the hospital, throwing the wine bottle, and being drunk and
disorderly. A.R. at 184-186. On November 18, 1996, Major
Kobayashi found Reeder guilty of one or more of the offenses
and directed the punishment of a reduction in rank to senior
airman " with a new date of rank of 2 October
1996." A.R. at 184.
Appeals, Discharge from the Air Force, and Applications to
appealed each of Major Kobayashi's decisions to
Kobayashi's commander, Colonel Barry Shade, and each of
the decisions were upheld. Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 31 & 43.
Reeder was honorably discharged from the Air Force on
February 16, 1998 because of " high year tenure" as
a Senior Airman. Am. Compl. ¶ 22. Reeder's
separation was characterized as a " Reduction in
Force." Id. In December 2001, the Department of
Veterans Affairs (" VA" ) rated Reeder as 50%
disabled due to PTSD from being battered and abused. Am.
Compl. ¶ 47. In May 2002, the VA increased that rating
to 100% disabled. Id.; see also A.R. at 225.
first applied to the AFBCMR on November 2, 1998, requesting
that his Article 15 records be set-aside. A.R. at 16-36. The
AFBCMR denied his application on December 1, 1999. A.R. at
10-15. On May 11, 2010, Reeder filed a second
application that consisted of a memorandum of law and 50
enclosures. A.R. at 58-387. He also submitted additional
medical records from the VA. A.R. 388-411. The second
application argued that the evidence available to the
commander did not establish Reeder's guilt of domestic
violence (A.R. at 68-81); Reeder did not willfully violate
the no-contact order (A.R. at 81-83); Reeder was mentally
unstable when he committed the offense of disrespect (A.R. at
83-85); and Reeder's separation from the Air Force
resulted from his mental condition and the miscarriage of
justice he suffered (A.R. at 85-86). The AFBCMR denied
Reeder's second application on May 25, 2011. A.R. at
415-417. On September 6, 2011, Reeder, through counsel,
submitted a letter informing the AFBCMR that its decision
provided an insufficient explanation of its rationale for
denial and requested further consideration. A.R. at 412-13.
The AFBCMR denied the application again on January 30, 2013
by a vote of 2-1. A.R. at 1-5 .
filed his complaint in this Court on November 6, 2014,
alleging that the AFBCMR's decision was arbitrary,
capricious, and unsupported by evidence or otherwise contrary
to law. See Compl. [ECF No. 1]. With the
Secretary's consent, Reeder filed an amended complaint on
April 23, 2015. See Am. Compl. [ECF No. 11]. Reeder
seeks to set aside the AFBCMR decisions under review and
remand the matter to the AFBCMR for expungement of the
Article 15 records in his Official Military Personnel File.