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Can a Soldier be charged with Larceny under UCMJ if they were cleared by the Military Polices?

Two of my Soldiers are pending UCMJ for being accomplices to larceny. The Soldier who committed the larceny admitted to doing so. The two "accomplices" deny participating in larceny and simply left with the individual being charged. They were cleared of any wrongdoing by the military police, however the commander is insisting on the article. Does this sound like a valid case? The item in question for the Larceny was a Beer Mug

The Mentor - A Comprehensive Guide to Army Counseling and Leadership

This depends on what the Commander is wanting to charge them with.  If it’s anything related to the theft, then I would strongly suggest the Soldiers speak with TDS and provide a copy of the MP Report.  They can request this from the MP station.  If the Commander is using it as evidence, then it will be in the Article 15 packet when they are given their first reading.  The Commander may be considering other lesser charges under Article 134.

If the Soldiers were cleared by the MP Report/Investigation, then the Soldiers needs to speak with TDS and get legal advice from the defense attorney.  This may be one of those cases in which the Soldier migh want to consider turning down the Article 15 and proceed to court-martial.  However, that is a decision the Soldier has to make

To Counsel or Not to Counsel

I would recommend the two Soldiers receive a counseling statement discussing the situation and the potential trouble they could have been in.  I find it difficult, if the Soldiers were hanging out together while at the bar, that one or the other did not know about their buddy’s intention to take the mug. Keep in mind the Soldiers have a duty and obligation to report violations of law and wrongdoing.


The situation, based on the information provided does not sound like a strong case.  Having said that, it is the Commander’s discretion whether to pursue UCMJ or not.  If the Commander decides on a summarized article 15, then the Soldiers are not entitled to TDS consultation, but they can appeal it to the next higher Commander if found guilty by the imposing commander

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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The Mentor - A Comprehensive Guide to Army Counseling and Leadership

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