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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ

Article 108—Destruction of Government Property

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Text.

“Any person subject to this chapter who, without proper authority—

    (1) sells or otherwise disposes of;

    (2) willfully or through neglect damages, destroys, or loses; or

    (3) willfully or through neglect suffers to be lost, damaged, destroyed, sold, or wrongfully disposed of, any military property of the United States, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Elements.

(1) Selling or otherwise disposing of military property.

    (a) That the accused sold or otherwise disposed of certain property (which was a firearm or explosive)

    (b) That the sale or disposition was without proper authority;

    (c) That the property was military property of the United States, and

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

(2) Damaging, destroying, or losing military property.

    (a) That the accused, without proper authority, damaged or destroyed certain property in a certain way, or lost certain property;

    (b) That the property was military property of the United States;

    (c) That the damage, destruction, or loss was willfully caused by the accused or was the result of neglect by the accused; and

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

(3) Suffering military property to be lost, damaged, destroyed, sold, or wrongfully disposed of.

    (a) That certain property (which was a firearm or explosive) was lost, damaged, destroyed, sold, or wrongfully disposed of;

    (b) That the property was military property of the United States;

    (c) That the loss, damage, destruction, sale, or wrongful disposition was suffered by the accused, without proper authority, through a certain omission of duty by the accused;

    (d) That the omission was willful or negligent; and

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

Explanation.

(1) Military property. Military property is all property, real or personal, owned, held, or used by one of the armed forces of the United States. If is immaterial whether the property sold, disposed, destroyed, lost, or damaged had been issued to the accused, to someone else, or even issued at all. If it is proved by either direct or circumstantial evidence that items of individual issue were issued to the accused, it may be inferred, depending on all the evidence, that the damage, destruction, or loss proved was due to the neglect of the accused. Retail merchandise of service exchange stores is not military property under this article.

(2) Suffering military property to be lost, dam-aged, destroyed, sold, or wrongfully disposed of. “To suffer” means to allow or permit. The willful or negligent sufferance specified by this article in cludes: deliberate violation or intentional disregard of some specific law, regulation, or order; reckless or unwarranted personal use of the property; causing or allowing it to remain exposed to the weather, insecurely housed, or not guarded; permitting it to be consumed, wasted, or injured by other persons; or loaning it to a person, known to be irresponsible, by whom it is damaged.

(3) Value and damage. In the case of loss, destruction, sale, or wrongful disposition, the value of the property controls the maximum punishment which may be adjudged. In the case of damage, the amount of damage controls. As a general rule, the amount of damage is the estimated or actual cost of repair by the government agency normally employed in such work, or the cost of replacement, as shown by government price lists or otherwise, whichever is less.

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