UCMJ Article 109a
Mail Matter: Wrongful Taking, Opening, Etc.
The MCM states under Article 109a (Mail Matter: Wrongful Taking, Opening, Etc.) any service member may be subject to prosecution if they:
- with the intent to obstruct them correspondence of, or to pry into the business or secrets of, any person or organization, wrongfully takes mail matter before the mail matter is delivered to or received by the addressee; or
- wrongfully opens, secretes, destroys, or steals mail matter before the mail matter is delivered to or received by the addressee.
In order to be prosecuted for wrongful taking of mail, the prosecution must demonstrate:
- the accused took certain mail matter;
- such taking was wrongful;
- the mail matter was taken by the accused before it was delivered to or received by the addressee; and
- such taking was with the intent to obstruct the correspondence or pry into the business or secrets of any person or organization.
Charges of wrongful opening, secreting, destroying, or stealing of mail may be applicable if it can be proven:
- the accused opened, secreted, destroyed, or stole certain mail matter;
- such opening, secreting, destroying, or stealing was wrongful; and
- the mail matter was opened, secreted, destroyed, or stolen by the accused before it was delivered to or received by the addressee.
Understanding Article 109a (Mail Matter: Wrongful Taking, Opening, Etc.) of the UCMJ
The purpose of Article 109a is to protect the mail and mail system. Mail matter refers to any matter deposited in a postal system of any government or any authorized depository or in official mail channels of the United States or an agency of the United States including the armed forces. The monetary value of the mail matter is irrelevant.
Maximum Possible Punishment for Violations of Article 109a
Service members convicted of an Article 109a violation face a maximum possible punishment of a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and forced confinement of up to 5 years.
How do you defend against Article 109a Mail Matter: Wrongful Taking, Opening, Etc. charges?
When you are facing the combined resources of the military as well as the current cultural climate, you need to be prepared to defend your career and your freedom. Crisp and Associates, LLC has a team of experienced trial attorneys who have won these cases. This team includes the firm’s founder, Jonathan Crisp, a highly respected former Army JAG with over 17 years of experience in military law and a sought-after speaker and lecturer on military law. In 2015 the firm recruited R. Davis Younts, a former prosecutor who was the number one rated Senior Defense Counsel in the Air Force and has taught at the Army and Air Force JAG Schools and successfully achieved acquittals in multiple rape, sexual assault, and sexual contact cases in courts-martial in multiple branches of the service.
If you or someone you know is facing Article 109a charges for Mail Matter: Wrongful Taking, Opening, Etc., you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-347-1514 for a free consultation.
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