ARTICLE 124 MAIMING
This article covers those incidents where a service member inflicts injuries on another that mutilates, disables or significantly diminishes the latter's vigor. The accused is guilty of violating this article if he has carried out this act with deliberate intent to injure.
The elements to be proved under this article are as follows:
- That at a specific time and place, the accused, without any excuse or justification, inflicted a specific injury upon the victim.
- That this injury either a) mutilated the victim and thus caused serious disfigurement of the victim, or b) disabled or destroyed a body part of the victim, or c) severely reduced the physical vigor of the victim by injuring a body part or any organ.
- That the accused did this act with the deliberate intent to cause physical injury.
Note: Disfigurement means that the accused' injury has caused visible damage to the victim's person so that his appearance was caused to significantly detract from his normal appearance.
The accused faces a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 20 years confinement if he is proven guilty of this offense. Offenses under this article that occurred before October 1 st 2007 are punished with dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 7 years confinement. For more information on this article, please refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.
POINTS TO NOTE ABOUT ARTICLE 124
- The accused is guilty of violating this article even if the victim has subsequently recovered or may recover use of the body part/ organ or that the disfigurement may be medically corrected.
- The injury inflicted by the accused should have caused serious impairment of a reasonably permanent nature for the offense to be considered as violation of this article.
- It is necessary to establish that the accused had the intent to cause an injury. Even a person who only intended to cause minor injuries can be tried under this article if the actual injury sustained by the victim matches those specified here.
- It is not necessary for the prosecution to show the means by which the injury was caused.
- Circumstantial evidence to prove intent of the accused is typically admissible during trial.
EXAMPLES OF ARTICLE 124
In United States v. Allen, 59 M.J. 515 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. 2003), the prosecution established that the accused was guilty of violating this article by presenting circumstantial evidence to show injury to infant victim. The accused's intent to injure was proven and he was convicted under this charge.
However, in United States v. McGhee, 29 M.J. 840 (A.C.M.R. 1989) the wounds/ scars on the victim's person, which were predominately on the buttocks, were not easily apparent to a casual observer. The victim also had injuries on the face but these too were not instantly visible to a casual observer. This resulted in the decision that there was insufficient evidence to support a maiming charge.