UCMJ Article 94
Mutiny or Sedition
The MCM states any service member may be subject to prosecution under Article 94 if they:
- with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority, refuses, in concert with any other person, to obey orders or otherwise do his duty or creates any violence or disturbance is guilty of mutiny;
- with intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of lawful civil authority, creates, in concert with any other person, revolt, violence, or other disturbance against that authority is guilty of sedition; and
- fails to do his utmost to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition being committed in his presence, or fails to take all reasonable means to inform his superior commissioned officer or commanding officer of a mutiny or sedition which he knows or has reason to believe is taking place, is guilty of a failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition; or
- A person who is found guilty of attempted mutiny, mutiny, sedition, or failure to suppress or report a mutiny or sedition shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.
There are several different elements attached to Article 94 and each has a specific set of qualifications that must be proven by the prosecution.
- Mutiny by creating violence or disturbance.
(a) The accused created violence or a disturbance; and
(b) That the accused created this violence or disturbance with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.
- Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform a duty.
(a) That the accused refused to obey orders or otherwise do the accused’s duty;
(b) That the accused in refusing to obey orders or perform duty acted in concert with another person or persons; and
(c) That the accused did so with intent to usurp or override lawful military authority.
(a) That the accused created revolt, violence, or disturbance against lawful civil authority;
(b) That the accused acted in concert with another person or persons; and
(c) That the accused did so with the intent to cause the overthrow or destruction of that authority.
- Failure to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition.
(a) That an offense of mutiny or sedition was committed in the presence of the accused; and
(b) That the accused failed to do the accused’s utmost to prevent and suppress the mutiny or sedition.
- Failure to report a mutiny or sedition.
(a) That an offense of mutiny or sedition occurred;
(b) That the accused knew or had reason to believe that the offense was taking place; and
(c) That the accused failed to take all reasonable means to inform the accused’s superior commissioned officer or commander of the offense.
- Attempted mutiny.
(a) That the accused committed a certain overt act;
(b) That the act was done with specific intent to commit the offense of mutiny;
(c) That the act amounted to more than mere preparation; and
(d) That the act apparently tended to effect the commission of the offense of mutiny.
Understanding Article 94 (Mutiny or Sedition) of the UCMJ
There are two types of mutiny defined in Article 94 but both require an attempt to “usurp or override military authority”.
- Mutiny by creating violence or disturbance may be committed by an individual or a group.
- Mutiny by refusing to obey orders or perform duties requires action by two or more persons in resisting “lawful military authority”. The insubordination may or may not be preconceived and does not have to be active or violent in nature. Intent may be proven through words, or interpreted through acts, omissions, or surrounding circumstances.
Sedition requires an action resistant to civil authority. The action need not be violent nor create a disturbance.
Failure to prevent and suppress a mutiny or sedition is used when the accused did not take reasonably necessary measures, appropriate to the circumstances, to prevent or suppress a mutiny.
Failure to report a mutiny or sedition occurs when the accused fails to “take all reasonable means to inform” others of an occurring sedition or mutiny. The prosecution may determine the circumstances in question would have led a reasonable person to believe mutiny or sedition was occurring therefore the accused failed to report. While failure to report a mutiny or sedition falls under Article 94, a failure to report an impending mutiny or sedition falls under the jurisdiction of dereliction of duty.
Attempted mutiny refers to an attempt to commit a specific act with the intent to commit mutiny. The attempted act must have been past the planning/preparation stage and must have been directly linked to mutiny.
Maximum Possible Punishments for Violations of Article 94
The maximum possible punishment for a violation of Article 94 is that of death, or whatever punishment a court-martial may decide upon.
How do you defend against Article 94 Mutiny or Sedition 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 94 charges for Mutiny or Sedition, 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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