PSA: False Statement V. Integrity

Click to Call 253-317-8494

Today’s public service announcement involves the difference between integrity and making a false official statement and the other lesser known offense of misprision of a serious offense under the UCMJ.

If a person makes an affirmative statement, volunteers’ information or answers questions to their command to appear to a superior to law enforcement, they volunteer information and that they know intentionally is wrong, is false. That is a violation of a 107. Keeping your mouth shut and not volunteering information is called protecting your rights. The caveat to that is my video on DUI arrest. If you’re a part of the Department of the Navy in that instance, you have an affirmative obligation to come forward and tell the command that you have had an interaction with law enforcement. And that is all. If you start volunteering more information, if you try to lie about what it is that was the encounter versus saying, I have fulfilled my obligation under the reg.

That’s all I’m saying. That’s not making a false official statement. That’s also not meaning that you’re violating integrity. On the other hand, there is a lesser known offense of a misprision of a serious offense. It’s a little bit historical, but this is what it says. You cannot commit an act of positive concealment without being in violation of this UCMJ offense. For instance, you’re walking down the street, you happen upon to witness people who are suspects leaving the scene, culprits who have just robbed a bank and shot a security guard. If they drop the weapon, meaning that they’re trying to maybe put it in a gutter, in a grate, but it’s there, it’s out in the opening. If you who have not committed the offense, do something positively to conceal that, like you kick that weapon into the grate for them or to pick it up and put it in a trashcan.

That is a positive act of concealment and you have violated misprision of a serious offense. Because the other part in that is that it has to be a serious offense. It has to be a voluntary act of concealment. Sometimes people, get confused or forget about it in the wake of the article 134 violation for obstructing justice. But obstructing justice the big difference between that and a misprision of a serious offense is that the positive act of concealment has to involve, can involve any crime for obstructing justice. It’s when you knew or should have known or had a reason to believe that there was already or would be an investigation in the case of yourself or like your buddies.

So obstructing justice is nuanced and different. Misprision of a serious offense is pretty historical. We only see it every now and again. It does not give anyone, that’s probably a good caveat, an obligation to report that they witnessed a crime. It doesn’t. Now you want to talk about integrity in that regard. You know, you want to talk about sort of morally if you feel like it’s up to you to get involved in something, but there is no obligation on your part to report a crime on yourself other than caveat with the Department of the Navy. If you’ve had an interaction with law enforcement, you do have a positive obligation to do that. And it is punitive. It could qualify as an article 92 violation. And we know this because we saw this guy get prosecuted and it was upheld all the way to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. I disagree, but well there we are.

Jocelyn Stewart is a UCMJ court-martial attorney who specializes in defense of allegations of sexual assault for all branches of the military worldwide.


You Might Also Like These Articles


How To Fight Administrative Separation

On any given day in the U.S. Armed Forces, multiple servicemembers will get written notice from their unit telling them that they are getting kicked ... Read more

Court Martial Bloopers Part 2

Court martial bloopers part two. I hope you guys are liking this because I am. Okay, so this one is from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, circa around 2012.

Understanding The Consequences Of An Administrative Separation For Misconduct

Officially, the military’s method of formally prosecuting misconduct (and “kicking out” those who commit it) is through a court-martial or military trial. What many don’t ... Read more

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.