Article 31(b) Triggers - The COMA Misfires
JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL'S SCHOOL CHARLOTTESVILE VA
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Article 31b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice UCMJ predates the United States Supreme Court decision in Miranda v Arizona by 15 years. Both serve, however, as guardians of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. In Miranda and its progeny, the Supreme Court laid down a series of objective measures for the triggering events of custody and interrogation. In contrast, throughout the history of the UCMJ, the United States Court of Military Appeals COMA has struggled to develop and maintain a coherent analysis of the triggering events for Article 31b. The current test is known as the officiality test. This thesis asserts that the officiality test used by the COMA is improper for two reasons. First, it fails in its attempt to apply Miranda law and reasoning to the military situation. Second, it fails to insulate service persons from the evils of unlawful influence of rank in an interrogation environment. This thesis proposes a new synthesis of Miranda concerns with the special emphasis of the UCMJ, eliminating unlawful influence. A central feature of the synthesis is the employment of objective criteria measuring the existence of government-induced military power disparity. Use of the objective criteria will provide adequate protection to suspects as well as clearly inform investigators of their obligations to warn.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law
- Military Forces and Organizations