Types of Court Martial Offenses

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A court-martial may try any offense which is listed in the punitive articles of the UCMJ. The punitive articles run from Articles 77 through 134 of the UCMJ. 10 U.S.C. §§ 877-934. Some of the offenses listed within Articles 77 through 134 have a civilian analog, but some are exclusive to the military.

Civilian Analog Offenses

Some examples of civilian analog offenses under the UCMJ would be conspiracy (Article 81); murder (Article 118); rape (Article 120) robbery (Article 122); and assault (Article 128).

Military-Specific Offenses

Examples of military-specific offenses include desertion (Article 85); absence without leave (Article 86); insubordinate conduct (Article 91); mutiny and sedition (Article 94); misconduct as a prisoner (Article 105); malingering (Article 115); and conduct unbecoming an officer (Article 133).

General Article 134

In addition to the enumerated offenses above, a servicemember may be tried at a court-martial for offenses not specifically covered within the punitive articles. Under General Article 134, which states that all “crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense.”

Federal Assimilative Crimes Act (18 U.S.C. § 13)

The military uses Article 134 to assimilate state and federal offenses for which there is no analogous crime in the UCMJ in order to impose court-martial jurisdiction. The potential punishments for violations generally match those applicable to the corresponding civilian offense.

Preemption doctrine

The preemption doctrine prohibits application of Article 134 to conduct covered by Articles 80 through 132.