relieved by a plea of guilty. The many duties of the trial
counsel vary widely beginning at the time of assignment
to the trial. The duties change throughout the
preparation for trial, the trial itself, and the preparation
and disposition of the record of trial.
All accused persons have the right to be represented
before special and general courts-martial by defense
counsel. This counsel may be a civilian or military
lawyer selected by the accused or the convening
authority may appoint a defense counsel. If a civilian
counsel is selected, the accused must pay the counsels
expenses. If the accused prefers to select a civilian
counsel, the detailed counsel and assistant counsel act
as associate counsel if the accused so desires; otherwise,
they may be excused.
Art. 55. Cruel and Unusual Punishments
Article 55 prohibits any cruel or unusual
punishment. In particular, courts-martial are forbidden
to award sentences that include flogging, branding,
marking, or tattooing the body. The use of irons is also
prohibited except for the purpose of safe custody.
Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
The punitive articles of the UCMJ are those
numbered 77 through 134. They are the laws of
Congress telling you what you must do and must not do,
under pain of punishment.
What about civil laws? Can you be given military
punishment for nonmilitary offenses? Yes, you can. For
example, the only U C M J regulations against
drunkenness are for drunken driving and being drunk on
duty. Many civilian communities, though, have laws
against public intoxication. If you are found guilty in
civil court and spend time in jail for public intoxication,
the Navy can try you for being absent without leave
(UCMJ, article 86) and for bringing discredit upon the
Navy (UCMJ, article 134).
If you willfully refuse to pay just debts, you will be
warned to pay them by your commanding officer.
Continued failure to pay your debts can lead to an
undesirable type of discharge. The Navy has no use for
people who dont exhibit integrity and honesty. On the
other hand, if unscrupulous dealers are gouging you, see
your legal officer for assistance.
The punitive articles that follow are those that you
are required to know. If you have any questions about
their meaning, ask your division officer for guidance.
Art. 77. Principals
The mere fact that a person is at the scene of a crime
does not make the person a principal. To be a principal
of a crime, the person must be guilty of intent to aid or
encourage the person(s) who committed the crime.
A person who witnesses a crime can be a principal.
Evidence must show the witness had a duty to interfere
and the witnesss noninterference was intended to
operate and did operate to encourage or protect the
A person may be a principal even though not at the
scene of the crime if he/she commanded, advised, or
obtained another person to commit an offense.
Art. 78. Accessory After the Fact
Any person subject to this chapter who,
knowing that an offense punishable by this
chapter has been committed, receives,
comforts, or assists the offender in order to
hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial, or
punishment shall be punished as a court-martial
A person who voluntarily gives an escaped prisoner
provisions that permit him/her to avoid pursuers
becomes an accessory after the fact to the prisoners
escape. Provisions include transportation, clothing,
money, or any other necessities.
Art. 79. Conviction of Lesser Included Offense
An accused may be found guilty of an
offense necessarily included in the offense
charged or of an attempt to commit either the
offense charged or an offense necessarily
Examples of what generally are held to be
lesser-included offenses contained in a principal
o ff e n s e
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