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Proof lies on him who asserts, not on him who denies. The concept is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of what the law says about reasonable doubt, there is an unwritten presumption within the ranks of the military that if you are charged with sexual assault, then you are guilty. The stakes are your life! Your military counsel works for the same military that charged you. Consider that as you choose who represents you in your potentially life altering case.


Under the Article 134 of the UCMJ, any person subject to the Code, who a) escapes from correctional custody or b) breaches the restraints imposed by the persons, who are authorized to do so while, in correctional custody shall be penalized as deemed fit by a court martial.

Note- Any commander who is directly in the accused person's chain of command, and who has the authority not restricted by a higher authority, is authorized to impose correctional custody on the accused.

Following are the elements of crime under the Article 134 that need to be proven.

  • Escape from correctional custody
  • The accused should have been placed under correctional custody at the specified place, for a specific duration
  • The accused, while in correctional custody, was under physical restraint as imposed by the authorized persons.
  • The accused had the knowledge of the correctional custody arrangement and was also aware of the limits and physical restraints imposed upon him or her
  • The accused freed himself or herself from the physical restraints imposed in the correctional custody, prior to him or her being released from it by the authorized persons.
  • The conduct of the accused was of such nature that it distorts the good order and discipline in the armed forces or it "brings upon discredit to the armed forces".

Maximum punishment - The accused may be subject to confinement of no more than one year as maximum punishment for escaping from correctional custody.

  • Breach of correctional custody
  • The accused was in correctional custody and had physical restraints imposed on him or her by proper authorities
  • The accused was restrained to specific limits set by the right authorities
  • The accused was fully aware that he or she was in correctional custody and also knew about the restraints
  • The accused crossed the limits of restraints before being relieved of the restraints or being set completely free from correctional custody, by the authorized personnel
  • The accused did so in a specific manner (as alleged)
  • The conduct of the accused was of such nature that it distorts the good order and discipline in the armed forces or it "brings upon discredit to the armed forces".

Maximum punishment - The accused may be subject to confinement of no more than six months as maximum punishment for breaching the restraints of correctional custody.


Any person who is taken into correctional custody will be punished if he or she escapes from custody, or breaches the restraints of the correctional custody set by authorized persons.

The term correctional custody, as stated in the Article, refers to physical restraints imposed on a person during duty and non-duty hours, or both, as punishment under Article 15 of the UCMJ. So casting off such physical restraint through trickery, violence or any other means, before the accused was set free by the authorized persons is an offense punishable under Article 134.

It is important to note that escape from correctional custody is complete only if a person sets himself or herself entirely free, even if momentarily, from the physical restraints, and is not opposed or caught by the authorities pursuing him or her.

Another important point that should be noted here is that the evidence that the accused was in correctional custody, such as documentation of that proper correctional custody was imposed, is sufficient to prove the offense and no mention of the underlying offense, for which the accused was put in correctional custody, is allowed.

Also, it should be proved beyond reasonable doubt that the action or behavior by the accused has caused damage to the reputation of the service. Only when these points are proven in a court, shall the accused be convicted and subject to maximum punishment.


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A Winning Track Record in Difficult Cases

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Joseph L. Jordan travels around the globe to represent service members in military criminal defense matters.

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