THIS WOULD BE A SITUATION OF CONCURRENT JURISDICTION, BETWEEN THE
UNITED STATES AND THE FOREIGN GOVERNMENT, DEPENDING ON THE LAWS OF THE
OTHER NATION. AN AMERICAN (SOLDIER OR CIVILIAN) WHO COMMITS A CRIME IN A
FOREIGN COUNTRY IS SUBJECT TO THE LAWS OF THAT NATION. WE WILL RETURN TO
THIS ISSUE SHORTLY.
h. The U.S. Magistrate's court system. As we have already seen, a civilian
who commits a crime on post may be apprehended by military law enforcement
Since there is no court-martial jurisdiction over civilians, except
during declared wars, the civilian offender can only be prosecuted in civilian
court. Not all crimes, however, are going to be referred to the U.S. Attorney for
prosecution. While felonies will generally be so referred, this is not true of all
misdemeanors. The U.S. Attorney's Office may be too involved with the prosecution
of other felony cases to handle all of the military cases, particularly the
An alternative is the U.S. Magistrate's Court System: "Any
individual military or civilian, who commits a misdemeanor in an area of exclusive
or concurrent federal jurisdiction a military installation located within the
judicial district of a U.S. District Court may be prosecuted before a U.S.
Magistrate." (AR 27-40, paragraph 6-5a.)
The U.S. Magistrate is a federal judge "designated to try misdemeanors
committed on an installation." (AR 27-40, paragraph 6-5b.) An attorney from the
SJA office will normally act as the prosecutor (AR 27-40, paragraph 6-3-1).
Magistrate "shall have jurisdiction to try persons accused of, and sentence persons
convicted of, misdemeanors." (18 USC Section 3401a.) The U.S. Magistrate's Court
also has jurisdiction over juveniles who commit on-post misdemeanors (18 USC
The purposes of this system include "convenience to the public" and the
"enforcement of misdemeanor laws on Army installations." (AR 190-29, paragraph 6.)
It is a federal court, as was noted.
Cases most frequently tried here include
larceny, assault, and traffic offenses. Since the court's jurisdiction is limited
to the trial of misdemeanor cases, it may not impose a sentence of imprisonment in
excess of one year. The magistrate may not sentence a juvenile who is tried as a
juvenile to any period of confinement. [18 USC Section 3401(g)].
Offenders are cited to appear in U.S. Magistrate's Court by the issuance of
DD Form 1805 (Citation).
Some offenses allow for a mail-in fine, while others
require a court appearance (AR 190-29, paragraph 7). The trial of a juvenile may
necessitate a certification by the U.S.
Attorney that the state juvenile court
"lacks jurisdiction, refuses to assume jurisdiction, or does not have adequate
programs and services available."
(AR 190-29, paragraph 15.)
This will, of
course, require coordination between the SJA and the local civil authorities.