UCMJ Article 78
Accessory After the Fact
UCMJ Article 78 (Accessory After the Fact) specifies a service member may be subject to prosecution if they:
- knowingly receive, comfort, or assist an offender in order to hinder or prevent his apprehension, trial, or punishment. The accessory need not to have participated with or assisted the principal during commission of the crime in order to be punished though the use of Article 78; or
- participate in acts used to conceal the commission of the offense itself.
The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:
- that an offense punishable by the UCMJ was committed by a certain person;
- the accused knew that this person had committed such offense;
- thereafter the accused received, comforted, or assisted the offender; and
- the accused did so for the purpose of hindering or preventing the apprehension, trial, or punishment of the offender.
Understanding Article 78 (Accessory After the Fact) of the UCMJ
The accused must have had knowledge of the crime committed and must have done something to benefit the offender AFTER the crime was committed. The benefits could range from something as simple as offering the offender a “safe place to stay” to something as complex as assisting the principal in destroying evidence.
Maximum Possible Punishments for Violations of Article 78
For persons convicted of violating Article 78 the maximum possible punishment includes the “maximum punishment authorized for the principal offense, except that in no case shall the death penalty nor more than one-half of the maximum confinement authorized for that offense be adjudged, nor shall the period of confinement exceed 10 years in any case, including offenses for which life imprisonment may be adjudged.”
The individual prosecuted under Article 78 is subject to the same punishment as the original offender but is not considered to be a principal in the crime itself. One may still be convicted as an “accessory after the fact” even if the principal is acquitted in a separate trail.
How do you defend against Article 78 Accessory After the Fact 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. Donald Gordon has litigated cases before the Discharge Review Board, the Board for Correction of Military Records, and the Board for Correction of Naval Records regarding a wide variety of matters and a diverse background of clients.
If you, or someone you know, is facing Article 77 as a principal of a crime, you need to speak with a Military defense attorney right away. Please call Crisp and Associates Military at 888-258-1653 for a free consultation.
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