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Can information from Social Media be used for UCMJ actions?

I have a Soldier who called in sick this morning due to food poisioning. He ate sushi the other night and got sick. The other night was also his birthday. Which means everyone assumes he was drinking. Now this morning his wife posted a comment about him being hung over. I cannot find the comment anywhere on his or his wife's pages. Our PSG wants to put him in for an article 15 and demote him. The PSG thinks he is lying and is going to investigate. I believe my Soldier and want to give him the benefit of the doubt. Now since it was not him that posted this alleged comment, can they use that against him?

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Can information from Social Media sites be used for UCMJ actions?  Absolutely.

Anything posted on Social Media can be used as evidence, subject to verification. Once a Soldier has information posted to Facebook or some other media, it is open information to the public. Even though, in your scenario, his wife posted the comment, it can be inferred that she would know his condition. However, getting her to testify or write a statement that her husband was hung over could be another issue. If the Soldier was given an Article 15 and took it to courts-martial, if would be doubtful if the wife would testify against him and she could not be forced to testify. One way I have used Facebook in the past to track down AWOL Soldiers (one kept updating his status location from his  iPhone), another way was when a Soldier denied underage drinking, but he had pictures showing himself at a party with a beer in his hand and other Soldiers from the unit with him. Be careful what you post.

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Staff Sergeant(R) Douglas “Eck” Eckstein is a former Paralegal NCO with over eleven years of service in the Army. He has served overseas tours in Korea and Iraq. Eck served on active duty for seven years working in the personnel administration field then, after a break in service, returned to active duty in 2009 when he earned the Military Occupational Specialty, 27D (paralegal). He has worked in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate from Division level down to unit level. He has expertise in all aspects of military law, with extensive emphasis in Administrative Law and Soldiers Rights. “I am not an attorney and any views presented are my own and are not to be interpreted as legal advice. Furthermore, my views do not necessarily represent the views of DoD or its Components.”

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  • Part-Time-Commander


    Be careful what you post on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The information stays on these sites forever, even if you delete your post. Never publish anything that could get you in trouble. If in doubt, don’t do it!

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