Drill Sergeant found NOT GUILTY after Gapasin attacks weak forensic evidence and lays out credible, reasonable defense.
9 April 2021, U.S. v. E-5, United States Army, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Drill Sergeant is accused of recording inappropriate videos on Snapchat that showed trainees showering and changing in the latrines. The Government prefers charges against the Drill Sergeant under Article 92, UCMJ, for violating a lawful order issued in the Battalion's Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by wrongfully using his phone to photograph trainees. Drill Sergeant denies the allegations and retains Mr. Gapasin to represent him. Gapasin immediately begins reaching out to witnesses involved, learning that his client is well-respected by other NCOs, and that he exhibits good military character. Evidence reveals that the only clear forensic evidence of photos or videos being taken was a single still photo that CID digitally extracted from the client's phone. The forensic evidence revealed that the photo was taken in March 2020, when the installation had just begun instituting COVID-19 restrictions among the trainees, such as limiting the numbers of Soldiers in the latrines, and taping off every other stall and sink. This only photo showed several trainees in a gaggle in the latrine, but all were fully dressed either in PTs or their uniforms. Several trainees maintained that Gapasin's client would make them feel uncomfortable in the latrine, always being present and watching them when no other Drill Sergeant's were in the latrines during that phase of training. Gapasin argues at trial, however, that the photo was not taken for purposes of taking humiliating or degrading pictures of the trainees, but for purposes of showing other Drill Sergeants problems with attempting to maintain 6 feet of social distancing as mandated by the installation's new COVID-19 restrictions. RESULT: NOT GUILTY of the Specification and its Charge, NO Federal Conviction, NO Confinement. Additionally, Gapasin's client was allowed to maintain his Drill Sergeant Hat and Badge until he PCS'd shortly after the trial, thereby avoiding any negative paperwork in his file.