QUESTION: SOME PEOPLE CALL THIS CRIME "VICTIMLESS." IS IT?
ANSWER: ECONOMIC CRIME IS CORRUPTION. IT CARRIES WITH IT A PRICE FAR HIGHER
THAN ANYTHING WE CAN MEASURE IN DOLLARS AND CENTS. IT IS A BREEDING
GROUND FOR CYNICISM AND DISTRUST. THE AMERICAN PUBLIC READS OF THE
WASTE AND FRAUD, AND PEOPLE START TO THINK THAT ALL GOVERNMENT
EMPLOYEES ARE CROOKS, ALL OF THEM STEAL, AND ALL ARE INHERENTLY
THEY COME TO DOUBT THE HONESTY AND INTEGRITY OF ALL
GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING ME AND INCLUDING YOU. IN THIS SENSE,
ECONOMIC CRIME IS A CRIME AGAINST OUR ENTIRE SYSTEM. IT IS NOT, THEREFORE, A
"VICTIMLESS" CRIME. YOU ARE THE VICTIM, AS IS EVERY OTHER HONEST, HARD-
WORKING GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE. WE ARE ALL ITS VICTIMS. IT DESTROYS PUBLIC
PART H - CRIMINAL LIABILITY (THE GENERAL PUNITIVE ARTICLES)
A. Principals (Article 77, UCMJ). Article 77 provides that any person who commits an offense
punishable by the UCMJ, or aids, abets, counsels, commands, procures, or causes the commission of an
offense punishable by the UCMJ is a principal. A principal is one who is equally guilty as one who
commits the offense directly and may be punished to the same extent.
1. Who may be liable for an offense?
a. The perpetrator is one who commits the offense either by his own hand or by causing
an offense to be committed by knowledge or intentionally setting in motion acts which result in
commission of the offense.
2. Aider and Abettor. If one is not a perpetrator, in order to be guilty of an offense
committed by the perpetrator, the accused must:
a. Assist, encourage, advise, instigate, counsel, command, or procure another to commit,
or assist, encourage, advise, counsel, or command another in the commission of the offense; and
b. Share in the criminal purpose or design. Part IV, MCM, 1984, para 1(b) (2) (b) .
QUESTION: CAN ONE BE A PRINCIPAL TO A CRIME WHEN HE IS NOT EVEN PRESENT AT
THE SCENE OF THE CRIME?
ANSWER: YES. PRESENCE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME IS NOT NECESSARY TO MAKE
ONE A PARTY TO THE CRIME AND LIABLE AS A PRINCIPAL. PART IV, MCM 1984, PARA
1(b) (3) (a). IF ONE KNOWS THAT A PERSON INTENDS TO SHOOT ANOTHER AND
PROVIDES THE PERPETRATOR WITH A PISTOL, INTENDING THAT THE ASSAULT BE
CARRIED OUT, THAT PERSON WILL BE JUST AS GUILTY OF THE ASSAULT AS THE
ACTUAL PERPETRATOR, EVEN THOUGH NOT PRESENT AT THE SCENE OF THE ASSAULT.
AT THE SAME TIME, MERE PRESENCE AT THE SCENE OF THE CRIME IS NOT ENOUGH TO
TRIGGER LIABILITY AS A PRINCIPAL.
IN OTHER WORDS, SOME PARTICULAR
PARTICIPATION OR SHOW OF ENCOURAGEMENT IN THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENSE
IS NECESSARY BEFORE ANY