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 134- Drunk prisoner

If a prisoner (enlisted member) is found drunk in a correctional facility and after a court martial confirms his guilt, he can be handed more punishment.

The case of a drunk prisoner is not specifically mentioned in the text of Article 134. The text of Article 134 concerning this violation of the UCMJ says that all neglects and disorders that harm the discipline and good order in the armed forces, or any conduct, which by its nature brings discredit to the armed forces, will be tried in a court martial and if confirmed, will be punished.

A prisoner getting drunk is not enough to attract capital punishment. Therefore, the proof presented to support the charge must show all the elements of the crime.

Elements of the Drunk Prisoner violation of Article 134

  • The defendant was prisoner.
  • The defendant was found drunk when he was a prisoner.
  • In the circumstance, the accused's conduct was detrimental to the discipline and good order in the armed forces or the nature of his act brought discredit to the armed forces.

Explanation of the Elements

A 'prisoner' is an individual who is in custody or confinement imposed on him by the Rules of Court Martial 302, 304 and 305 or is serving a sentence handed to him by a court martial and has not been freed by the proper authority.

  • According to Rule 302, an individual can prevent a statement taken from him, during a mental examination, or any evidence obtained on the basis of the statement from being used against him.
  • Rule 304 says that involuntary statements or the evidence derived fore with, are not admissible as proof, expect under certain conditions (eg. impeachment, perjury).
  • Rule 305 concern the rights of the accused. Any statements obtained in violation of Rule 305, cannot be used as evidence against the accused.

'Drunk' refers to intoxication which is sufficient to restrict the full and rational exercise of the individual's physical and mental faculties. The word 'drunk' is related to intoxication on alcohol.

Where do prisoners get alcohol from?

Alcohol is notoriously difficult to make in prison and but many inmates nevertheless, attempt it. It is usually made from a number of purloined materials (from the prison kitchen) or from fruit served or bought by the inmates. The rule is, if you can ferment a prison food item, you can make some alcohol from it. One prison in East Sussex (U.K) has banned prisoners from buying fruit because many of the prisoners were using the fruit to make prison alcohol.

The end product, is a shadow of the real stuff and is unlike anything you would get outside. So the prisoners sometimes fortify the home brew with anti-freeze (that they steal from prison vehicles), which makes it more potent. This prison made brew is capable of giving a light buzz. But due to the difficulty in obtaining the ingredients and the danger of being discovered, inmates do not usually make prison alcohol.

In most cases, it is easier to smuggle alcohol into the prison. Some prisoners have friends among the guards. They also develop contacts in the prison who can get them the alcohol for a price. Sometimes, a guard will himself share alcohol with a prisoner.

Hand wash gels also contain alcohol. The percentage of alcohol in some hand wash gels is far above the alcohol level in conventional alcoholic drinks. Many prisoners, desperate for a drink will get intoxicated after drinking hand wash.

What is the punishment if a prisoner is found drunk?

The maximum punishment that can be levied on a drunk prisoner is three months of confinement and forfeiture of 2/3 rd of his monthly pay, up to three months.

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