The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

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The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#1  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 9:56 pm

I mentioned in another topic, some experience I have had with military justice in the US armed forces. For your amusement, this happened in Texas:

Some months before I was posted to Laughlin AFB, Texas, one of the base computer network techs noted some constant notifications from the new base network firewall. It turned out those notifications were because one of the base's computer users, an airman working in the base clinic, was busy surfing for child pornography at work. Using the government computer. The network guys notified law enforcement, who promptly marched to this guy's office and caught him with his pants down. Actually down. Yep, child porn. They got a warrant to search his home computer, same thing. Busted, big time.

I came into this story when I was asked to be the technical expert for the defense counsel. Well, I did it. For the life of me, I couldn't see how in the hell this was going to turn out any other way than prison.

What the defense counsel needed was someone to review the forensic techniques the investigators used. I interviewed the special agent in charge of the technical investigation and yes, she was doing it right. The defense counsel was a captain and a lieutenant. Lawyers, who knew nothing about computers or hard drives, etc. That's why they asked for me.

So, I sat through the entire court martial. I saw every image that bastard found. And, I can tell you, there is some fucked up shit out there, having seen that. It really was a tight case. This airman was fucked.

I remember asking the defense lawyers what motivates them. The defense counsel is almost certain to lose a court martial. The government tends not to even try cases they cannot win. So, if it goes to court martial, the conclusion is pretty predictable. How do you come to work and do it right, knowing perfectly well you're going to get your ass kicked?

The kid got sent to Leavenworth for four years confinement.

Back to the defense counsel motivation. We spoke after the court martial, of course. That airman could have been sent away for decades. They got him four years confinement instead. So, that's a pretty big win. But more importantly, the Area Defense Counsel exists to force the government to prove their cases.

I was glad to have been a part of it.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#2  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 10:00 pm

I haven't searched for it online, but if it's available, the Manual for Court Martial (MCM) is the book that governs military justice. Half of it is the script for a court martial. And, it is scripted. Certain things are said and done at specific times, it's quite regulated.

The first time I saw that was in basic training in the summer of 1982. Our basic training flight's training instructor threatened all of us with it if we ever questioned him.

It's a maroon covered book, as I remember.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#3  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 10:03 pm

I'll tell you what I learned from that defense counsel, though. It applies in military and civilian courts. If you are EVER in a situation where you have the right to remain silent, you should remain fucking silent. The defense counselors told how they dream of such a case where the accused shuts up and the government actually has to prove their case.

If someone ever tells you that you have the right to remain silent, exercise that right.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#4  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 10:24 pm

While posted at FE Warren AFB, Wyoming, the Chief of Maintenance of the communications squadron, a captain, was once tapped for random urinalysis. It's a damned annoying thing, you have to stop whatever it is you're doing to report to the base clinic to piss in a cup under supervision. Yay.

With no officer to supervise this captain, our Maintenance Superintendent was to be his observer. The captain attempted to introduce a foreign bottle of piss. A scuffle ensued. Piss everywhere. Ultimately, this captain was discovered and eventually an unadulterated sample of piss was certainly obtained.

Cannabis use detected. Court Martial!

There are distinct phases in a court martial. A fact finding part, a determining of guilt part, the whining part, and finally the sentencing part. I made it to the last two parts. This captain was found guilty of using marijuana. I got to see the part where he and his wife and anyone else with a sob story told how great a guy this captain was, and spare him his life from this monstrosity, blah, blah.

Most insulting was the whining from his wife who told us how hard it will be for their infant child if her father has to go to prison for a year. A year is the typical length for an unaccompanied tour to some remote duty station. Like every one of us usually has to do, apart from our families. Worse than that though, was the cold fact that this captain would have been the first son of a bitch in line to court martial any one of the 150 enlisted men in his division for the very same thing he was doing.

He was confined for a year and dismissed from the Air Force.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#5  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 10:41 pm

Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota was my first duty station.

A shortage of dormitory rooms made it possible for me to be quartered off base. For a few months, I stayed in a piece of shit trailer house in a trailer park called Wagon Wheel Village. I bet that park is still there in Box Elder, South Dakota, if you want to look at Google Earth to see it. I answered an ad from another airman on the base who wanted to share rent in a bigger, more upscale trailer park. That was my mistake.

Not long after I moved in with this guy, I started to notice inventory amounts of shit from the base local purchase store. Pencils, pens, notebooks, clocks, garbage cans, single edged razor blades, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, etc. Piles of the stuff. Way beyond taking a pen home in your pocket. These were quantities of supplies he was going to sell.

The civilian trainer in my first radio maintenance shop there was a retired master sergeant. He was in the Air Force when it BECAME the Air Force in 1947. I explained to him what I found, and mentioned I didn't know what to do. He smiled and clapped me on the back. He said "You know what to do. You just don't want to do it.". He was right. So, I did what I had to do to prevent becoming an accessory after the fact (another little gotcha in our UCMJ), and turned the guy in.

Of course, I had to find a new place to stay. But, that wasn't too much of a problem. At that time, everything I owned fit with me inside the cab of my old pickup truck.

I was a witness for the government for that court martial, though I don't think they needed me. I was only allowed into the court room to give my testimony. Prosecuting attorney, to me, while pointing to a table piled high with stolen shit: "Are THESE the items you found in the trailer you shared with the accused?" Well, items that look exactly like those, if not those, I replied.

He earned a year in confinement and a dishonorable discharge.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#6  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2021 10:51 pm

Also at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota:

An airman assigned to my unit was being tried for driving while intoxicated, on base. For this case, I was volunteered to be the bailiff for the court martial.

It was simple duty. I had to make sure everyone had their office supplies. On the judge's bench, the prosecution and the defense counsel's tables were water pitchers and paper cups I had to keep filled. Fetch witnesses from the waiting room, shit like that. It was interesting to see the court martial unfold from that perspective.

The kid's mom was there for the whining and sentencing phase. Poor woman. She got to watch her son be convicted and taken away.

When it was all over, it was my job to empty those water pitchers. The water closet was all the way on the other end of a damned long hallway, so I thought it would be easier to just push open the fire door behind the judge's bench and fling that water out onto the prairie.

Unbeknownst to me, a blizzard was raging outside. I hit the door panic bar with my hip, the door slammed around, all the way open as it was caught by the howling wind. That wind also cleared the judge's bench of his papers very nicely.

Of course, I picked it all up, terribly embarrassed. The military judge was super cool about the whole thing. He didn't know it was a blizzard outside, either.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#7  Postby laklak » Jan 23, 2021 11:14 pm

The_Metatron wrote:IIf you are EVER in a situation where you have the right to remain silent, you should remain fucking silent.



My sister the lawyer says you only say ONE word - "Lawyer". Over and over again, in answer to any question.

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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#8  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 24, 2021 4:50 am

laklak wrote:
The_Metatron wrote:IIf you are EVER in a situation where you have the right to remain silent, you should remain fucking silent.


My sister the lawyer says you only say ONE word - "Lawyer". Over and over again, in answer to any question.



This is absolutely true in the US; I've seen numerous lawyers talk about how well trained interrogators can be in getting a confession out of people, even from those who are innocent.

Of course, trying this in other countries might net you a broken jaw and missing teeth, so perspective and all that.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#9  Postby laklak » Jan 24, 2021 2:55 pm

I once watched a Bahraini detective beat a kid almost unconscious with a rubber hose, in his office, right in front of me. They dragged him out by his arms, the detective looked at me and said "Ok, about your friend..."

The dumbass friend worked for me, he'd had some weed mailed to him from South Africa and got caught. By pulling in every favor I'd ever banked I managed to get the head of Bahraini Internal Security (an ex-SAS Brit) to use his influence to get him deported, rather than serving the 20 years they sentenced him to. He still spent probably 6 months in a Bahraini jail, not something I'd recommend to anyone.

Stupidest thing about it was you could buy hash on almost any street corner, the Sheik's brother controlled the traffic. You did NOT compete with the Sheikh's brother.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#10  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 24, 2021 3:09 pm

Only had a few day trips into Manama. Best steak I ever had was Australian beef at the Hunter's Lodge there. Come to think of it, the glass of beer I enjoyed the most in my life was a cold glass of Foster's, also in Manama, the first trip there after a tour in Saudi Arabia. Not quite as dramatic as Lawrence of Arabia, but it was pretty fucking good.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#11  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 24, 2021 3:18 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
laklak wrote:
The_Metatron wrote:IIf you are EVER in a situation where you have the right to remain silent, you should remain fucking silent.


My sister the lawyer says you only say ONE word - "Lawyer". Over and over again, in answer to any question.



This is absolutely true in the US; I've seen numerous lawyers talk about how well trained interrogators can be in getting a confession out of people, even from those who are innocent.

Of course, trying this in other countries might net you a broken jaw and missing teeth, so perspective and all that.

Applies to the US, of course...


I just finished a book by James Duane, You Have the Right to Remain Innocent. The fifth amendment to the constitution has been weakened by the supreme court, it seems. The sixth amendment is the money maker. Once you demand a lawyer, all questioning must stop. If it doesn't, anything learned is poisoned fruit and inadmissible.

I truly want to abandon this shithole of a country. I just don't know of a better, feasible, alternative.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#12  Postby laklak » Jan 27, 2021 2:38 am

The_Metatron wrote:
I truly want to abandon this shithole of a country. I just don't know of a better, feasible, alternative.


Yep, same dilemma here.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#13  Postby Spearthrower » Jan 27, 2021 5:18 am

I know you both have ample experience in this regard so it'd be grandma egg-sucking teaching to say that all countries have their problems; you can't flee them all.

Selfishly though, other countries' problems tend not to feel so much like your own... until you're stuck in the middle of a coup with tanks parked outside your apartment and warnings not to leave curtains open in case of snipers... then those problems tend to feel a little more inclusive.
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Re: The United States' Uniform Code of Military Justice

#14  Postby Hermit » Jan 27, 2021 6:21 am

Spearthrower wrote:I know you both have ample experience in this regard so it'd be grandma egg-sucking teaching to say that all countries have their problems; you can't flee them all.

Selfishly though, other countries' problems tend not to feel so much like your own... until you're stuck in the middle of a coup with tanks parked outside your apartment and warnings not to leave curtains open in case of snipers... then those problems tend to feel a little more inclusive.

No such problem in Eswatini. The absolute king is in total control. Nobody needs to worry about their safety as long as they don't utter anything critical about how he governs them. Eswatini is truly a libertarian's paradise.
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