UCMJ Article 122: Robbery And Receiving Stolen Property
What Is Article 122 Of The UCMJ?
Article 122 of the UCMJ governs charges of robbery and receiving stolen property that can be levied against service members of the U.S. armed forces. Robbery as defined by the UCMJ implies that the taking was by means of force, violence, or putting fear of immediate or future injury. Receiving stolen property implies that the service member accused received, bought, or concealed property they knew to be stolen.
On the surface, these charges seem like very basic charges where one ought to be punished for their crimes. The only problem is that thievery and the wrongful appropriation is as ubiquitous to the armed services as is guns and ammo. You won’t find a command from sea to shining sea that doesn’t harbor some form of thievery among the ranks.
That problem is exacerbated when command culture almost glorifies such behavior as ingenuity and adaptation. It is commonly said that there is only one thief in the Marine Corps and everyone else is just getting their stuff back. You’ll also hear it said commonly among the Corps that “gear adrift is a gift.” It is not always easy for a young enlisted member to clearly make a delineation between what behavior is routine and what behavior a command intends to prosecute.
Bilecki Law Group will protect your future and freedoms against charges of robbery, assault, and theft. If you believe your life is worth fighting for, make the call to Bilecki Law Group TODAY.
What Specific Charges Reside Under Article 122?
As we mentioned earlier, Article 122 contains two specific charges. With each charge, there exists several elements that the prosecution must satisfy in order to find the service member guilty. We’ll list those below exactly as you would see them within the UCMJ and we’ll also show you the maximum punishment that could be levied against you. Understanding these elements is essential as a skilled military defense attorney can wield these definitions in your favor and make it extremely difficult for an overzealous prosecution to prove them all.
Robbery – For a service member to be found guilty, the prosecution must satisfy the following five elements with a sixth to prove an aggravating factor:
(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused wrongfully took (state the property allegedly taken) (from the person) (from the possession and in the presence) of (state the name of the person allegedly robbed);
(2) That the taking was against the will of (state the name of the person allegedly robbed);
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(3) That the taking was by means of (force) (violence) (force and violence) (and) (or) (putting him/her in fear of (immediate) (future) injury to:
(a) (his/her person) (the person of a relative) (the person of a member of his/her family) (the person of anyone in his/her company at the time of the alleged robbery) [and/or]
(b) (his/her property) (the property of a relative) (the property of a member of his/her family) (the property of anyone in his/her company at the time of the alleged robbery);
(4) That the property belonged to (state the name alleged); (and)
(5) That the property was of a value of $__________ (or of some value); [and]
[(6)] That the means of force or violence or putting in fear was a dangerous weapon, to wit: (state the dangerous weapon alleged).
Note that the UCMJ clarifies that property “belongs” to a person who has title to the property, a greater right to possession of the property than the accused, or possession of the property.
Maximum punishment: With a dangerous weapon comes with a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 15 years confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
All other cases come with a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 10 years confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
Receiving Stolen Property – For a service member to be found guilty, the prosecution must satisfy the following four elements:
(1) That (state the time and place alleged), the accused wrongfully (received) (bought) (concealed) (state the property alleged), of a value of $ ______ (or some value);
(2) That the property belonged to (state the name of the person alleged);
(3) That the property had been stolen by some person other than the accused; and
(4) That, at the time the accused (received) (bought) (concealed) the property, (he) (she) knew it was stolen.
Maximum punishment: Value of $1,000 or less comes with a bad conduct discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 1 year confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
Value of over $1,000 comes with a dishonorable discharge, total forfeiture of all pay and allowances, 3 years confinement and reduction in rank to E-1.
Will An Article 122 Conviction End My Career?
More than ending your career, an Article 122 conviction can lead to a punitive discharge that will follow you for the rest of your life. It’s a shame as you could have multiple deployments, combat action ribbon, and a purple heart, but when command finds you with an iPhone that turns up stolen, they’ll take everything from you. Six months from retirement? The military justice system says “screw you buddy” we’ll take that retirement back.
If that seems unreasonable, it is because it is. The military justice system doesn’t exist for the purpose of pursuing justice and truth. It exists for the singular purpose of preserving military order and discipline. For that to work, they have to make a public example out of someone to scare others into compliance. They yearn for that public example and that’s why the military justice system comes down hard on some of the finest men and women to ever serve.
Hell, on deployments, thievery is a damn near general order from some commands. We could tell you multiple stories that involve a junior officer or senior NCO distracting supply while his grunt platoon is lifting all the supplies they need straight from the quadcons. When Article 122 is used by fickle commands to prosecute the very behavior condone, a terrible misjustice can take place.
How To Fight Back And Win Against Article 122 Charges?
If you don’t fight back and if you allow them, the military justice system will roll over you and your entire career to gain their public example. That means your only option is to fight like hell for your career and your freedom. You need to be ready to take the fight straight to the heart of the military justice system and you need an attorney who is willing to hook and jab without worrying about their own military career.
Remember that mantra that says there is only one thief in the Marine Corps and everyone else is just getting their stuff back? Well, you may very well have told the new boot who transferred into your battalion that you’d beat him if he didn’t give you his iPhone. That’s because you thought he was the S.O.B that stole yours to begin with and you were just getting it back.
The prosecution is going to try and make you out to be Al Capone, but you were literally just the Marine trying to get your things back. Hell, thievery is so common in the military that there is likely not a barracks from sea to shining sea without some stolen property harbored inside. You need to fight to get your truth told and brought into the light. You need to fight like your entire career depends on it, because it does.
If you are facing charges or investigation under Article 122, reach out to us and we’ll show you exactly what you are facing and how to fight back. We’ll even give you a free defense strategy session that you can use whether you retain us or not. A fight is coming your way whether you like it or not, so there is no use pretending otherwise. This is true even if you did make a mistake and now, you are just trying to secure the best possible outcome for yourself.
Reach out to us and get us into that fight. We’ll put together a defense strategy that is so aggressive, it’s almost a sin not to call it an offense. Reach out to us and claim your free defense strategy session now and together, we’ll fight for every thing that matters most.
Bilecki Law Group will help you fight back against charges under Article 122: Robbery
Frequently Asked Questions About Article 122
Article 122 considers two types of maximum charges for robbery offenses, those with firearms, and those without firearms. Robbery with a firearm:
- Reduction to E-1
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
- Dishonorable discharge
- Confinement for 15 years
Robbery without a firearm:
- Reduction to E-1
- Forfeiture of all pay and allowances
- Dishonorable discharge
- Confinement for 10 years