Fraternization charged

Fraternization charged in the military
Fraternization in the military

There have been several instances where fraternization charged against a military member and the member faced courts-martial. If you have been accused of fraternization, there might be some issues that you might want to know about. I’m not a lawyer and you should seek competent legal advice and I am sure that I am oversimplifying the issues, but in my interpretation, the government has a requirement to demonstrate specifically how the actions of the accused violated the good order and discipline.  In a case where an Air Force member was accused of violating an AF Regulation relating to fraternization, the Air Force Court of Criminal Appeals (AFCCA) found there was not enough to enable a “reasonable factfinder to have found all the essential elements of the offense as it was charged.” In essence, the AFCCA opined that there needed to be some specifics other than to say that there was a ‘custom’ against fraternization and that the government had to specify how this ‘custom’ was violated, along with some codification of what the custom against fraternization was. The government would need to be specific about how it negatively affected the good order and discipline of the service and the Government had not offered evidence or testimony regarding the existence of a custom of fraternization.

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Ref: US v. Caldwell 72 MJ 137, United States v. Wales, 31 MJ 301 (CMA 1990), United States v. McCreight, 43 MJ 483 (CMA 1995), United States v. Scott

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