Representative Cases: Drugs

GSA secures Honorable discharge for Sailor who tested positive for morphine 

Navy trainee facing administrative separation board following positive urinalysis for morphine.  Represented Sailor at discharge board, able to secure an Honorable Discharge.

Air Force captain tests positive for cocaine, prevails at discharge board

Air Force captain facing administrative separation after positive urinalysis for cocaine. GSA represented captain at discharge board in front of panel of O-6s. Aggressive challenge to collection and testing procedures, lab personnel records, and chain of custody resulted in full exoneration. Career saved.

Air Force NCO accused of multiple uses of methamphetamine.

Gagne, Scherer & Associates obtained expert forensic assistance in the field of psychology to prove that our client’s mental capacity was impaired, bringing the Government’s ability to pursue the case to a halt. GSA efforts saved client from a federal conviction and possible jail time, and we were able to negotiate an administrative discharge instead of trial by court-martial.

Air Force officer (prior enlisted) with almost 20 years of service allegedly tested positive for marijuana.

Gagne, Scherer & Associates demanded trial to prove the member’s innocence, but command elected to issue a reprimand instead and took the case straight to a show cause board. GSA used prior lab errors, lab personnel misconduct, and actual errors in the testing process to show she did not use illegal drugs, saving member’s career and retirement. Two O-6 board members sought out our client after the board to offer their support to her in her future Air Force service.

Full acquittal for E-4 following positive urinalysis for cocaine

At trial, GS&A aggressively attacked historic and recent lab errors, calling our client’s test results into question. We visited our client’s unit to obtain support for airman’s good military character, resulting in a chief master sergeant testifying to his outstanding military character in support of finding of not guilty. The urinalysis observer believed he recalled airman behaving strangely during test, and intended to testify to about what he saw. We demanded a novel “in court identification lineup” to challenge whether witness could properly recall and identify Airman. Witness could not accurately identify the accused, resulting in suppression of this testimony. Our client was fully acquitted. The military Judge addressed the airman on the record following acquittal, praising the work of GS&A attorneys in obtaining the favorable result.

Airman acquitted of using mushrooms and underage drinking

An airman, who was a member of security forces, was brought to a special court-martial and accused of taking illegal mushrooms and drinking while under the age of 21. The government’s evidence consisted of the testimony and written statements of a number of witnesses, including other airmen who claimed to have taken mushrooms with our client. GS&A presented witnesses who testified to the great military character of our client, and witnesses who testified the some of the government’s witnesses couldn’t be trusted. GS&A’s cross-examination of the government’s witnesses exposed numerous inconsistencies and the overall implausibility of their stories, in addition to their lack of credibility. The jury acquitted our client of all charges, and our client was able to resume his promising military career.

Charges dropped against Marine accused of using cocaine, discharge board also withdrawn

Marine was accused of wrongful use of cocaine following positive urinalysis. After turning down NJP to prove innocence at trial, client faced Special Court-Martial. Pretrial efforts resulted in dismissal of charges. Marine then faced administrative discharge for same allegations. GS&A continued to support this Marine and welcomed opportunity to defend him at the Board. Ultimately, board was withdrawn and Marine was allowed to deploy as a result of our assistance and support.

Officer retained at discharge board

An Air Force field grade officer faced Board of Inquiry following conviction for marijuana use. Spared from discharge at trial, this officer faced potential administrative discharge and an OTH after almost 19 years of outstanding service. Pre-board litigation and objections prohibited the Government from introducing roughly half of the evidence that they sought to use. After aggressive defense, officer was retained by Board after less than a half hour of deliberation, saving officer’s career and retirement.

Major accused of drug use, larceny, and false official statements is sentenced to only 3 months though government sought 3 years

A major who worked as an aeromedical nurse was brought to a general court-martial and accused of stealing a number of drugs from the medical kit while deployed to Iraq. The government alleged that our client had falsified documents and created fictitious patients in order to get drugs, and that he kept the kit in his room instead of returning it to the pharmacy after missions so that he could have easy access to the drugs in the kit. He was also charged with using a number of controlled substances. GS&A engaged in more than a year of challenges to the government’s evidence and the way our client was being treated. When our client was charged, the initial charge sheet was several pages long. After aggressively litigating the charges during the pretrial investigation, GS&A got a significant number of the allegations dropped. At trial, GS&A did a lengthy and thorough presentation of our client’ stellar military service, and demonstrated how the government disregarded our client’s serious health concerns, including TBI sustained in the line of duty, and deprived him of due process during the investigation. Throughout the case, the government refused to accept any resolution short of our client doing 3 years in jail. As the trial approached, and after a number of the charges had been dropped, the government agreed to cap our client’s sentence at 9 months of confinement. At the conclusion of the sentencing phase of the trial, we persuaded the judge to give our client only 3 months.

GS&A uses coca tea defense to save NCO’s career

A reservist in the Air National Guard faced a separation proceeding because he tested positive for cocaine during a random urinalysis. The client claimed that he had unknowingly ingested coca tea the night before the test. We had the tea tested by a renowned forensic chemist. During the discharge hearing, we presented our chemist’s lab report, which concluded that the client’s story was probably true. Through cross-examination we got the government’s own toxicologist to acknowledge the credibility of our report. We cross-examined our client’s commander and first sergeant and demonstrated that they had an extreme bias against our client and were unwilling to give him any presumption of innocence or benefit of the doubt. We also showed that our client was exceptionally solid performer and a big asset to the mission. The board determined that our client had not committed any misconduct. He was retained and allowed to continue his career.

Airman convicted of numerous uses of cocaine serves only 44 days in jail

A female airman was court-martialed for testing positive for cocaine on four separate random urinalyses and confessing to using cocaine every week for months. During the pretrial phase, we discovered that our client was suffering from mental health disorders in addiction to being addicted to cocaine. The government refused to acknowledge her mental problems and ordered her to be held in pretrial confinement in the county jail. At trial the government asked the court to sentence the airman to 12 months in jail. We used the government’s own doctors to establish the severity of the airman’s mental health illnesses, and showed that the county jail was exacerbating her problems. Additionally, we showed that the airman’s confinement conditions violated her rights. The court granted her substantial extra credit for time served, and she was released from jail immediately after trial.

Marine acquitted at cocaine-use trial

Marine facing a charge of wrongful use of a controlled substance in violation of Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice; specifically wrongful use of cocaine. The Marine was facing the possibility of a year in prison and a bad conduct discharge. Tough, aggressive advocacy resulted in an acquittal, which saved the Marine’s record allowing him to separate from the Marine Corps with an Honorable Discharge.

Airman avoids punitive discharge for attempted distribution of ecstasy

The government charged a junior airman with attempted distribution of ecstasy. In spite of the airman’s cooperation, confession, and excellent military service, the Air Force refused to allow the airman to separate in lieu of a court-martial. The Air Force insisted that the Airman go to jail, and at trial the prosecution asked for several months in jail and a Bad Conduct Discharge. GS&A used the detachment commander of the Office of Special Investigations as the star witness for the defense, and convinced the judge not to give the airman any punitive discharge. He was sentenced to a mere 45 days of confinement and allowed to separate with a general discharge.

26-year reservist E-9 avoids OTH for multiple positive drug tests, saves retirement

After serving for 25 years, an NCO tested positive for marijuana. Over the next few months he tested positive two more times, for cocaine and marijuana. The government sent him to a separation board and sought an OTH separation. GS&A highlighted the NCO’s career accomplishments, his war injuries, and the mental health issues caused by the war injuries. The soldier never tested positive for drugs until he suffered his war injuries and began suffering from PTSD. By highlighting these issues, GS&A persuaded the board to recommend a General discharge rather than on OTH. The soldier saved his full retirement.

Airman tests positive for coke, avoids jail and a punitive discharge

Airman was charged with multiple uses of cocaine. The sole evidence against him was positive hair test. The government offered our client a deal to plead guilty and receive no worse than three months in jail and a bad conduct discharge. We turned down this deal and instead fought the case at a court martial trial. We put on a comprehensive defense at both findings and sentencing. Our client was ultimately found guilty, but he was only sentenced to a reduction to E-1, hard labor without confinement, and a reprimand. Due to our efforts, our client avoided jail time and a punitive discharge.

Petty Officer tests positive for coke but beats case at adsep board

Our client, a Navy Petty Officer Second Class, tested positive for cocaine through random urinalysis. His Commanding Officer ordered that he face an administrative separation board for drug abuse and asked that he receive an other than honorable conditions discharge, the worst administrative discharge possible. In defending him at the board, we assembled a comprehensive package of evidence and called a number of witnesses from our client’s ship to discuss his character. We also undermined the scientific evidence offered by the government through cross-examination of their expert scientist. In spite of his positive lab test, the board found that our client had not committed any misconduct and there was no basis for his separation. He was allowed to return to his duties aboard the ship and continue his Navy career.

Charges dropped against Marine facing court-martial for drug use

A Marine failed urinalysis tests for both amphetamine and methamphetamine and was brought to a special court-martial for wrongful drug use. Our pretrial investigation of medications taken by LCPL and thorough expert assistance revealed the strong likelihood that test was a “false positive.” We approached his command on eve of trial and presented this evidence. Aggressive, persuasive presentation convinced convening authority to withdraw charges one day before trial was to begin, saving Marine’s career and possibility of wrongful conviction.

20-year NCO acquitted of cocaine use

A retirement-eligible NCO with 20 years of experience was accused of cocaine use based on a positive urine test. Based on our thorough cross-examination of the government’s scientific expert during the court martial, we created reasonable doubt about the NCO’s knowledge about cocaine use. The jury returned a finding of not guilty and the NCO was allowed to retire honorably.

Airman convicted of abusing OTC drugs avoids jail and discharge

A young, married, female Airman was court-martialed for abuse of Coridicin Cough & Cold medicine (Triple Cs) and attempted use of Ecstasy. By playing hardball with the government we negotiated a very good pretrial agreement, and then beat the pretrial agreement at trial by putting on a strong sentencing case in front of the jury. The prosecution asked the jury to sentence her to 6 months in jail and a Bad Conduct Discharge. We highlighted her outstanding work record, generous off-duty volunteer work, and history of being emotionally abused. Our sentencing case persuaded the jury to return a sentence that did not include any jail time, nor any discharge from the military.

Airman acquitted of drug use

A young airman was accused of using illegal drugs with a number of friends. The court martial evidence consisted of testimony of four witnesses who claimed to have used drugs with her. We destroyed the credibility of these witnesses through cross-examination and the jury returned a finding of not guilty after less than 30 minutes of deliberation.

Sailor facing more than 160 years in jail on drug charges gets less than two years

A sailor was brought to a General Court Martial to face more than 20 drug charges. The charged offenses carried a punishment of more than 160 years in jail. GS&A aggressively challenged the government’s attempt to over-charge the case. Once they discredited the government’s theory of the case, GS&A’s attorneys presented testimony by the member’s family and highlighted his stellar contributions while in pretrial confinement. GS&A’s effort to humanize the client persuaded the jury to sentence him to less than 1% of the time he faced initially. He was sentenced to 24 months of confinement, but with good time served would be home 14 months after the court martial.

NCO facing drug charge, GS&A gets court martial dropped, proves cops lied

A noncommissioned officer with a spotless record was seized at gunpoint by military law enforcement doing a drug raid at civilian residence. The military police obtained a search warrant to test our client for drug use; the urinalysis showed our client tested positive. As part of our investigation, we double-checked police reports and tracked down the police officers. Because we were able to show that the police officers had lied, the government dropped all charges on the evening before court martial rather than contest the pretrial motions. Our attack on law enforcement conduct resulted in a police investigation.

20-year officer faces drug use charge, GS&A gets court martial dropped

A field grade officer with more than 20 years of experience tested positive for opiates. By interviewing fellow pilots, we were able to show that our client ate poppy seed bagels. And, we were able to show that poppy seeds show up as opiates on a urinalysis. Because of this persuasive defense, our client received no court martial charges – sparing his career and extensive retirement benefits.

Airman facing charge of using cocaine, GS&A gets court martial dropped

An young enlisted member was charged with testing positive for cocaine. While on leave, he attended parties with friends. Upon return, he was selected for random urinalysis and tested positive. We attacked the police procedures used to get his consent for the urinalysis. This led to the commanders throwing out the test, and ultimately, the case. All the court martial charges against our client were dropped.

GS&A gets drug court martial dropped, secures General discharge for sailor

Sailor with 8 years of solid service time tested positive for cocaine. He was offered nonjudicial punishment but he hired GS&A, refused the offer, and demanded a trial by court martial. The government started the court martial but dropped the charges after GS&A’s aggressive pursuit of information about the Navy’s drug-testing program. During its investigation, GS&A found numerous violations of the Navy’s drug-testing policies committed by the people running the program. By getting the court martial charges dropped, GS&A helped the member avoid the threat of a federal conviction, jail time, a fine, and a punitive discharge. The case was eventually brought to a discharge board, where the government insisted that the member be separated with an OTH, the worst possible service characterization. By challenging the government’s abuse of the testing procedures, and by highlighting the contributions the sailor made to the Navy mission, GS&A helped him avoid the OTH.

NCO gets reduced sentence because of GS&A’s attack on drug test procedures

A noncommissioned officer was charged with multiple uses of marijuana. She was sentenced to five months of confinement and forfeiture of $5,000, but she avoided a punitive discharge, which was her primary concern. During the court martial, we showed that our client had an excellent service record and was remorseful. After her sentence was imposed, we sought clemency based on mistreatment she suffered in jail. During the court martial and afterward, we aggressively challenged the base’s drug-testing procedures. As a result, the convening authority cut her forfeiture in half and significantly reduced her jail time. Because of our challenge to the drug-testing procedures was so strong, the convening authority also adopted our recommendations as the new, standard drug-testing procedure.

Airman charged with multiple attempts to use cocaine avoids punitive discharge

An enlisted member was charged with multiple attempts to use cocaine. At the court martial, we showed that the prosecution lacked forensic evidence. By demonstrating that our client was sincere and remorseful, we persuaded the prosecution to cap the member’s potential court martial sentence at three months. Because of the weaknesses in the case against our client, he avoided a punitive discharge and received only one month of confinement – a further reduction of his sentence.

Airman charged with use of morphine and marijuana avoids punitive discharge

An enlisted service member charged with use of morphine and marijuana, along with attempted possession of cocaine. At the court martial, we challenged lab reports, forensics and witnesses. By demonstrating that the case against our client had significant weaknesses, we were able to persuade the prosecution to cap the member’s potential court martial sentence at three months. At the sentencing, we “beat the cap,” because our client received only 45 days of confinement and avoided a punitive discharge.

NCO charged with possession and multiple uses of cocaine gets reduced sentence

A noncommissioned officer was charged with cocaine possession and multiple uses of cocaine. At the court martial, the prosecution cited forensic toxicology reports that stated our client was a chronic cocaine user. Through our skillful cross examination of the prosecution’s toxicologist, we got the toxicologist to concede that he couldn’t prove that our client was a chronic user. Because of this cross-examination, we saved our client several months in jail.

Airman facing 18 months in prison gets no jail time

A young, enlisted airman plead guilty at General Court Martial for multiple incidents of drug use. We were able to get his first sergeant and commander to testify on behalf of his character and work record. Next, we present a flawless sentencing case to the jury. Despite the government’s request that he serve at least 18 months in confinement, our client received no confinement time.