Airman pleads guilty during court martial
An Airman from the 6th Medical Support Squadron pled guilty at a special court-martial held in August for using cocaine, attempting to use Xanax and Ecstasy and failing to report to her urinalysis appointment on time.
Airman Tashika Lewis was represented by Capt. Cindy Calderon, her detailed area defense counsel, and the government was represented by Capt. Amer Mahmud. The Uniform Code of Military Justice affords Airmen facing court-martial charges the right to detailed military defense counsel at no expense, to request a different military lawyer if reasonably available or to be represented by a civilian lawyer at no expense to the government.
The investigation was conducted by security forces investigators working with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations. Investigators interviewed the Airman after it was determined that she had tested positive for cocaine subsequent to a random urinalysis. She waived her rights afforded under Article 31 of the UCMJ, and chose to speak with investigators. She then confessed to all of the violations.
During the interview, Airman Lewis confessed to using the drugs while she was with another individual later identified as a civilian friend. Airman Lewis admitted that she used cocaine several times, most recently the weekend before the random urinalysis.
She stated that she hung out at the Hard Rock in Tampa with her friend and then went to a motel room where they used cocaine repeatedly. On Monday morning, she woke up, reported to work, and was notified that she was selected for a random urinalysis. Instead of going directly to the drug testing facility within the requisite two-hour time period, she decided to take a nap in her dorm. When she finally provided a sample, laboratory tests confirmed that the cocaine metabolite was present in her urine.
At the trial, during the sentencing argument phase, the trial counsel asked the judge to especially consider a bad conduct discharge and confinement to send a strong message against illegal drug use in the military. The defense counsel asked the judge to consider the Airman's recent good performance and her strong desire to remain in the Air Force as mitigation in reaching an appropriate sentence.
The military judge sentenced Airman Lewis to four months of confinement, reduction in rank to E-1 and a bad conduct discharge. The maximum allowable punishment under a special court-martial is one of year of confinement, a bad conduct discharge, reduction to E-1, and forfeiture of 2/3 pay per month for a year. (Courtesy of the 6th Air Mobility Wing Legal Office)