Evidence DID NOT support by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent wrongfully used marijuana. Client FULLY RETAINED.
May 2, 2017, U.S. v. E-5, United States Air Force, Nellis AFB, Nevada. Staff Sergeant is accused of the wrongful use of marijuana when he pops hot on a urinalysis test for THC. Staff Sergeant denies intentional use, stating that he must have innocently ingested when he frequented hookah lounges that must have had unclean or dirty hookahs with THC residue. Govt does not believe him and issues him an Article 15, which would result in his separation from the Air Force. Staff Sergeant turns down the Article 15 and opts for court-martial. His command denies him the court-martial and instead gives him a reprimand and initiates a separation board, citing not just the alleged drug use but also 3 PT failures resulting in an administrative demotion. The command conveniently decided to demote Staff Sergeant to Senior Airman within 24 hours of the board. Staff Sergeant retains Mr. Gapasin to represent him. Gapasin investigates the claims of his client and recognizes a viable defense. THC is apparently a “sticky” drug that can easily cling to plastic or glass. Moisture, such as that in a hookah, would add to the “stickiness” of THC. During the board, the Government's own expert agreed with Gapasin, that the low THC levels from the client's UA did support the “inadvertent” ingestion of THC residue from a dirty or unwashed hookah. Additional evidence put on by Gapasin indicated that his client had gone to a hookah lounge within days of his UA resulting in the positive result of 20 ng/mL of THC. The evidence presented supported Gapasin's defense. The board comprised of officers all agreed. RESULT: Evidence DID NOT support by a preponderance of the evidence that the Respondent wrongfully used marijuana. Client FULLY RETAINED.