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.

Article 120a Stalking

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A service member who wrongfully behaves with a person in such a manner that the latter fears for her/ her family members' life or well-being is violating this article. This article also covers incidents where the victim is made to fear that sexual assault may be perpetrated with her/her family members. Scales in a courtroom

Specific acts (not just general conduct) committed by the enlisted member that induce fear in a specific person regarding her and her family members' safety and well-being are deemed to be an offense under Article 120a. The accused has violated this article if it can be established that his behavior/ action was such that such fear would be induced in a reasonable person.

The elements to be proven are:

  • That at a specified time and place, the accused was wrongfully involved in specified conduct that was directed at a specified person that would cause the victim to fear injury or death to herself or her closest family members.
  • That the accused was fully aware that such fear in the mind of the victim would be the result of his actions.
  • That the acts did cause the victim to fear such consequences.

Contact Joseph L. Jordan, Attorney at Law for defense from a former service member. 

Explanation of Article 120a

'Conduct' in this article refers to the visual or physical nearness that has been maintained by the accused on more than one occasion with the victim. It can also refer to a repetitive communication of threats (verbal and/ or written and/ or conveyed in other means) to the victim. Proof that the accused has an actual intention to harm/ kill the victim or her family member is not required. It is not necessary to show that the accused intended to create such fear in the mind of the victim.

The accused's acts or threats may have threatened the victim herself or her immediate family or an intimate partner. 'Immediate family' refers to the victim's spouse, child, parent or sibling. Any other relative/ family member or intimate partner who is a regular resident of the victim's household or who resided there within the 6 month period before the accused's act of stalking started. 'Intimate partner' refers to anyone who enjoys a close personal association with the victim which may or may not involve sexual relations.

Maximum Punishment: The accused faces dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and 3 years confinement as maximum punishment. For more information on this article, please refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

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