persons are on or off base, or on or off duty. An officer of an armed force acting
to terminate disorder among subordinates of his force because of the deleterious
effects the disorder might have upon the discipline or the credit of his service is
discharging a military function." U.S. V. NELSON, 38 MCR 418 (CMA, 1968).
The definition of "disrespect" under Article 91 is the same as under Article 89.
In U.S. V. RICHARDSON, 6 MCR 88 (CMA, 1952), the accused was arguing with another
soldier at the MP station. When told by an MP sergeant to be quiet, the accused
replied, "sergeant, well, if you don't like it, I'll take you in the back room and
fight you too." The court held that "threatening language to a military superior
(such as this offer to fight) is per se disrespect."
CAN ONE LOSE HIS/HER STATUS AS A SUPERIOR?
NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER WHOSE OWN LANGUAGE OR CONDUCT, UNDER ALL THE
CIRCUMSTANCES, DEPARTS SUBSTANTIALLY FROM THE REQUIRED STANDARDS
APPROPRIATE TO HIS RANK AND POSITION, UNDER THE SAME OR SIMILAR
CIRCUMSTANCES, IS DEEMED TO HAVE ABANDONED THAT RANK AND POSITION."
U.S. V. MCDANIEL, 7 MJ 522 (ACMR, 1979). A SUPERIOR, THEN, CAN ABANDON
HIS RANK AND POSITION OF AUTHORITY "BY HIS OWN MISCONDUCT."
RICHARDSON, 7MJ 320 (CMA, 1979).
THIS IS A HIGH STANDARD TO MEET,
HOWEVER, AND REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST POOR JUDGEMENT OR EVEN
INCOMPETENCY. U.S. V. PRATCHER, 14 MJ 819 (ACMR, 1982). PHYSICAL AND
VERBAL ABUSE ARE EXAMPLE OF WHAT MIGHT QUALIFY. U.S. V. GARRETSON, 42
CMR 472 (ACMR, 1969).
BY STEPPING OUT OF CHARACTER, THEN, ONE MAY
DIVEST HIMSELF "OF THAT CLOAK OF AUTHORITY, RESPECT, AND DIFFERENCE DUE
HIM." U.S. V. REVELS, 41 CMR 475 (ACMR, 1969).
One's own misconduct, then, may cost him his official position.
U.S. v. Cheeks, 43 CMR 1013 (AFCMR, 1971), a conviction for disrespect was reversed
since the victim had referred to the defendant as "Airman Shits." This was found
to be an abandonment of the NCO's status. The same thing can happen to an officer.
This is what happened in U.S. v. Struckman, 43 CMR 333 (CMR, 1971).
said he wanted to see the Marine Corps on its back.
The commander replied, "I
represent the Marine Corps. Let me see you put me flat on my back." The accused
The victim was deemed to have abandoned his status.
Due to the
commander's abandonment of his superior position, the accused wasn't guilty of the
assault upon a superior commissioned officer.
However, he is still guilty of
assault consummated by a battery for punching his commander in the face, because
the victim's status is not an element of that offense.
Willfully disobeying a superior commissioned officer (Article 90).
elements here are simple: (a) The accused received a lawful command from a certain
commissioned officer; (b) the officer was the superior commissioned officer of the
accused; (c) the accused knew the victim's status; and (d) the accused willfully
disobeyed the order.