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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ

Article 90—Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior officer (Page 2)

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    (iii) Relationship to military duty. The order must relate to military duty, which includes all activities reasonably necessary to accomplish a military mission, or safeguard or promote the morale, discipline, and usefulness of members of a command and directly connected with the maintenance of good order in the service. The order may not, without such a valid military purpose, interfere with private rights or personal affairs. However, the dictates of a person’s conscience, religion, or personal philosophy cannot justify or excuse the disobedience of an otherwise lawful order. Disobedience of an order which has for its sole object the attainment of some private end, or which is given for the sole purpose of in-creasing the penalty for an offense which it is expected the accused may commit, is not punishable under this article.

    (iv) Relationship to statutory or constitutional rights. The order must not conflict with the statutory or constitutional rights of the person receiving the order.

(b) Personal nature of the order. The order must be directed specifically to the subordinate. Violations of regulations, standing orders or directives, or failure to perform previously established duties are not punishable under this article, but may violate Article 92.

(c) Form and transmission of the order. As long as the order is understandable, the form of the order is immaterial, as is the method by which it is transmitted to the accused.

(d) Specificity of the order. The order must be a specific mandate to do or not to do a specific act. An exhortation to “obey the law” or to perform one’s military duty does not constitute an order under this article.

(e) Knowledge. The accused must have actual knowledge of the order and of the fact that the person issuing the order was the accused’s superior commissioned officer. Actual knowledge may be proved by circumstantial evidence.

(f) Nature of the disobedience. “Willful disobedience” is an intentional defiance of authority. Failure to comply with an order through heedlessness, remissness, or forgetfulness is not a violation of this article but may violate Article 92.

(g) Time for compliance. When an order re-quires immediate compliance, an accused’s declared intent not to obey and the failure to make any move to comply constitutes disobedience. If an order does not indicate the time within which it is to be complied with, either expressly or by implication, then a reasonable delay in compliance does not violate this article. If an order requires performance in the future, an accused’s present statement of intention to disobey the order does not constitute disobedience of that order, although carrying out that intention may.

(3) Civilians and discharged prisoners. A discharged prisoner or other civilian subject to military law (see Article 2) and under the command of a commissioned officer is subject to the provisions of this article.

Lesser included offenses.

(1) Striking superior commissioned officer in execution of office.

    (a) Article 90—drawing or lifting up a weapon or offering violence to superior commissioned officer in execution of office

    (b) Article 128—assault; assault consummated by a battery; assault with a dangerous weapon

    (c) Article 128—assault or assault consummated by a battery upon commissioned officer not in the execution of office

    (d) Article 80—attempts

(2) Drawing or lifting up a weapon or offering violence to superior commissioned officer in execution of office.

    (a) Article 128—assault, assault with dangerous weapon

    (b) Article 128—assault upon a commissioned officer not in the execution of office

    (c) Article 80—attempts

(3) Willfully disobeying lawful order of superior commissioned officer.

Maximum punishment.

(1) Striking, drawing, or lifting up any weapon or offering any violence to superior commissioned officer in the execution of office. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.

(2) Willfully disobeying a lawful order of superior commissioned officer. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 5 years.

(3) In time of war. Death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

Next Article> Article 91-Insubordinate conduct toward warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or petty officer >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 14

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