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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 97—Unlawful detention
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“Any person subject to this chapter who, except as provided by law, apprehends, arrests, or confines any person shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

b. Elements.

(1) That the accused apprehended, arrested, or confined a certain person; and

(2) That the accused unlawfully exercised the accused’s authority to do so.


(1) Scope. This article prohibits improper acts by those empowered by the code to arrest, apprehend, or confine. See Articles 7 and 9; R.C.M. 302, 304, 305, and 1101, and paragraphs 2 and 5b, Part V. It does not apply to private acts of false imprisonment or unlawful restraint of another’s freedom of movement by one not acting under such a delegation of authority under the code.

(2) No force required. The apprehension, arrest, or confinement must be against the will of the person restrained, but force is not required.

(3) Defense. A reasonable belief held by the person imposing restraint that it is lawful is a defense.

Lesser included offense. Article 80—attempts

Maximum punishment. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 3 years.

Next Article > Article 98—Noncompliance with procedural rules >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 21


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