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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 134 - (Kidnapping)
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See Paragraph 60.


(1) That the accused seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, or carried away a certain person;

(2) That the accused then held such person against that person’s will;

(3) That the accused did so willfully and wrongfully; and

(4) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.


(1) Inveigle, decoy. “Inveigle” means to lure, lead astray, or entice by false representations or other deceitful means. For example, a person who entices another to ride in a car with a false promise to take the person to a certain destination has inveigled the passenger into the car. “Decoy” means to entice or lure by means of some fraud, trick, or temptation. For example, one who lures a child into a trap with candy has decoyed the child.

(2) Held. “Held” means detained. The holding must be more than a momentary or incidental detention. For example, a robber who holds the victim at gunpoint while the victim hands over a wallet, or a rapist who throws his victim to the ground, does not, by such acts, commit kidnapping. On the other hand, if, before or after such robbery or rape, the victim is involuntarily transported some substantial distance, as from a housing area to a remote area of the base or post, this may be kidnapping, in addition to robbery or rape.

(3) Against the will. “Against that person’s will” means that the victim was held involuntarily. The involuntary nature of the detention may result from force, mental or physical coercion, or from other means, including false representations. If the victim is incapable of having a recognizable will, as in the case of a very young child or a mentally incompetent person, the holding must be against the will of the victim’s parents or legal guardian. Evidence of the availability or nonavailability to the victim of means of exit or escape is relevant to the voluntariness of the detention, as is evidence of threats or force, or lack thereof, by the accused to detain the victim.

(4) Willfully. The accused must have specifically intended to hold the victim against the victim’s will to be guilty of kidnapping. An accidental detention will not suffice. The holding need not have been for financial or personal gain or for any other particular purpose. It may be an aggravating circumstance that the kidnapping was for ransom, however. See R.C.M. 1001(b)(4).

(5) Wrongfully. “Wrongfully” means without justification or excuse. For example, a law enforcement official may justifiably apprehend and detain, by force if necessary (see R.C.M. 302(d)(3)), a person reasonably believed to have committed an offense. An official who unlawfully uses the official’s authority to apprehend someone is not guilty of kidnapping, but may be guilty of unlawful detention. See paragraph 21. It is not wrongful under this paragraph and therefore not kidnapping for a parent or legal guardian to seize and hold that parent’s or legal guardian’s minor child.

Lesser included offenses. Article 80—attempts

Maximum punishment. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for life without eligibility for parole.

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 92


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