PART C - THE AUTHORITY TO APPREHEND
Apprehending persons subject to the UCMJ.
An apprehension is the taking of a person into custody. An apprehension "is
made by clearly notifying the person to be apprehended that person is in custody.
This notice should be given orally or in writing, but it may be implied by the
It "involves substance rather than form.
specific words or any words at all need be used." U.S. v. Repp, 23 MJ 589 (AFCMR
Telling a suspect to freeze and get up against a wall was held to be
sufficient in U.S. v. Walker, 13 MJ 982 (ACMR 1982).
b. UCMJ/MCM provisions.
Article 7, UCMJ, states: "Commissioned officers,
warrant officers, petty officers, and noncommissioned officers have authority to
quell quarrels, frays, and disorders among persons subject to this chapter and to
apprehend persons subject to this chapter who take part therein."
states that "the following officials may apprehend any person subject to trial by
court-martial...all commissioned, warrant, petty, and noncommissioned officers."
Article 7, UCMJ, also provides that "any person authorized under regulations
governing the armed forces to apprehend persons subject to this chapter or to trial
thereunder may do so upon reasonable belief that an offense has been committed and
that the person apprehended committed it."
Also, RCM 302(b)(1) states that "the
following officials may apprehend any person subject to trial by court-
martial...military law enforcement officials.
master-at-arms personnel, members of the shore patrol, and persons designated by
proper authorities to perform military criminal investigative, guard, or police
duties, whether subject to the Code or not, when, in each of the forgoing
instances, the official making the apprehension is in the execution of law
enforcement duties." The authority under Article 7 and RCM 302 is not limited to
"An Army MP may, of course apprehend a sailor or an airman. Article 7, UCMJ,
and RCM 302 apply to the apprehension of "any person subject to trial by court-
One may lawfully apprehend a superior, but there are a couple of
cautionary notes to be made here. First, RCM 302(b)(2) adds that "noncommissioned
and petty officers not otherwise performing law enforcement duties should not
apprehend a commissioned officer unless directed to do so by a commissioned officer
or in order to prevent disgrace to the service or the escape of one who has
committed a serious offense."
Also, RCM 302(b)(1) points out: "whenever enlisted
persons, including police and guards, apprehend any commissioned or warrant
officer, such persons should make an immediate report to the commissioned officer
to whom the apprehending person is responsible."
There are various regulations that deal with the power to
apprehend. As was explained, these constitute sources of authority.