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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 109—Property other than military property of the United States—waste, spoilage, or destruction
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Text.

“Any person subject to this chapter who willfully or recklessly wastes, spoils, or otherwise willfully and wrongfully destroys or damages any property other than military property of the United States shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Elements.

(1) Wasting or spoiling of non-military property.

(a) That the accused willfully or recklessly wasted or spoiled certain real property in a certain manner;

(b) That the property was that of another person; and

(c) That the property was of a certain value.

(2) Destroying or damaging non-military property.

(a) That the accused willfully and wrongfully destroyed or damaged certain personal property in a certain manner;

(b) That the property was that of another person; and

(c) That the property was of a certain value or the damage was of a certain amount.

Explanation.

(1) Wasting or spoiling non-military property. This portion of Article 109 proscribes willful or reckless waste or spoliation of the real property of another. The terms “wastes” and “spoils” as used in this article refer to such wrongful acts of voluntary destruction of or permanent damage to real property as burning down buildings, burning piers, tearing down fences, or cutting down trees. This destruction in punishable whether done willfully, that is intentionally, or recklessly, that is through a culpable disregard of the foreseeable consequences of some voluntary act.

(2) Destroying or damaging non-military property. This portion of Article 109 proscribes the willful and wrongful destruction or damage of the personal property of another. To be destroyed, the property need not be completely demolished or annihilated, but must be sufficiently injured to be useless for its intended purpose. Damage consists of any physical injury to the property. To constitute an offense under this section, the destruction or damage of the property must have been willful and wrongful. As used in this section “willfully” means intentionally and “wrongfully” means contrary to law, regulation, lawful order, or custom. Willfulness may be proved by circumstantial evidence, such as the manner in which the acts were done.

(3) Value and damage. In the case of destruction, the value of the property destroyed controls the maximum punishment which may be adjudged. In the case of damage, the amount of the damage controls. As a general rule, the amount of damage is the estimated or actual cost of repair by artisans employed in this work who are available to the community wherein the owner resides, or the replacement cost, whichever is less. See also paragraph 46c(1)(g).

Lesser included offense. Article 80—attempts

Maximum punishment. Wasting, spoiling, destroying, or damaging any property other than military property of the United States of a value or damage.

(1) Of $500.00 or less. Bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.

(2) Of more than $500.00. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.

Next Article > Article 110—Improper hazarding of vessel >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 33

 

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