AR 27-10 states:
3–12. Statute of limitations
Nonjudicial punishment may not be imposed for offenses which were committed more than 2 years before the date of imposition. Computation of this 2-year limitation is in accordance with the UCMJ, Arts. 43(c) and (d). The period of
limitations does not run when the Soldier concerned is absent without authority; fleeing from justice; outside the territory where the United States has authority to apprehend; in the custody of civil authorities; or, in the hands of the enemy.
Reasons for Delay
- Perhaps the case is rather involved or contains extenuating factors and the command is waiting for additional information.
- The legal team may be overwhelmed or shorthanded.
- The paperwork may have been lost.
Regardless of the reason the Command has a responsibility to execute the Article 15 process in a timely matter to ensure good order and discipline.
Items to Consider
You have several options available to you. These include:
- Calling the JAG office and anonymously asking the a hypothetical case.
- Making an appointment with JAG to discuss the issues
- Speaking with your chain of command on open door policy in attempt to resolve the matter.
You might also consider the following…rather than trying to get out of the Article 15 consider owning up to the offense if you in fact committed it. After speaking with JAG go to the Article 15 hearing well prepared
- Be prepared
- Consider preparing a written statement
- Be humble, professional, factual, and unemotional
- Be able to explain matters of extenuation (a partial excuse or reason as to why things happened) or mitigation (a reason why punishment should be less severe)
- Have a witnesses present who can speak about the event or your character and performance.
- You can use your service record and character in your defense…if you have been a relatively good or outstanding Soldier this can work to your benefit.
- How does your chain of command handle Article 15 punishments: do they throw the book at Soldiers for all offenses or do they listen to what the Soldiers have to say and modify punishments accordingly. I would encourage you to have a discussion with your Platoon Sergeant and 1SG prior to the Article 15 hearing and try to establish an understanding of how the chain of command handles these issues.
- Finally regardless of the results hold you head high, leave the Article 15 hearing and execute all of your punishments in a positive and professional manner. This will count immensely to your credit in the eyes of the chain of command.
The chain of command will usually go lighter on a Soldier that is honest, humble, and comes to the Article 15 hearing well prepared. Typically the command takes no pride or pleasure in punishing a Soldier. If you can put doubt in their case you may still be punished but usually it is very light. This also depends on the type of offense you are being charged with.
Unforgiveable Sin or Honest Mistake?
If it is what I call an unforgiveable sin, meaning something you knew was wrong and did it anyway like DUI then chances are you will get a stiff punishment.If what you did was an honest mistake with no intent behind it like you were 2 hours late for work because you overslept then chance are the command will be much lighter than the DUI example.
Let’s look at another example: Let’s say you are being charged with disrespect to a NCO, but the NCO was basically trying to provoke you into being disrespectful and there were witnesses that saw the NCO provoking you. In this example a few options are possible: usually you would still get the Article 15 with very light punishment, because your were in fact disrespectful, or you would not receive punishment at all because the NCO had intent to provoke you and was unprofessional. In cases like this where there are witnesses the Commander will usually take action against the NCO that ranges from a butt chewing to an Article 15. The Commander has a lot of latitude in the Article 15 process.
By knowing the regulation and putting together the best case possible and being honest, humble, and professional you stand a good chance of coming of the Article 15 process with light punishment and/or a bruised ego.
Trust me on this I have been in many Article 15 hearings so I know what I am talking about.
I am sure most of this post is not what you wanted to hear, but I can assure you by using this information to your advantage you will most likely come out of this situation better off than if you choose not to use it. After this process is over do not take the Article 15 personally. Understand that you need to pay the price for your mistake (if you did it) and commit yourself to being the best Soldier possible. If you do this with a good attitude your chain of command will see it. It is hard to keep a good Soldier down. Learn from this incident and never allow yourself to be in this situation again. When you become a leader help your Soldiers learn from your wisdom so hopefully they will not have to learn the hard way.
The procedures for the Article 15 Process are located in AR 27-10 and I do not see
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