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Liability for Misprision of a Serious Offense Distinguished

  1. militarydefenselawyers362One can be an accessory to any offense; however, misprision requires an offense punishable by confinement for more than one year. MCM, pt. IV.  95c(2).
  2. An accessory must “receive,” “comfort” or “assist” a principal “in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial or punishment.” MCM, pt. IV,  2. Misprision requires a positive act to conceal a felony, but it does not require intent to benefit the principal. MCM, pt. IV, 95.c.(1).
  3. Act Sufficient for Misprision. United States v. Sanchez, 51 M.J. 165 (C.A.A.F. 1999). Disposal of knife used in aggravated assault and formulation of plan to avoid detection amounted to affirmative assistance supportive of a misprision conviction.
  4. Acts Insufficient for Misprision. United States v. Maclin, 27 C.M.R. 590 (A.B.R. 1958) (reversing conviction for misprision, because accused who was burying stolen property did not know the prior theft was a felony); United States v. Assey, 9 C.M.R. 732 (A.F.B.R. 1953) (lending money to larceny perpetrator to replace stolen goods was not a “positive act of concealment”).

Air Force Appellate Defense Division