Military Suspects and Accused’s Have Rights Too!


Don’t waive them!





1. Are you a military member (active, Reserve, Guard, discharged, or retired) who is under investigation, suspicion, or prosecution? Or do you suspect this is about to happen to you.

2. Are you the spouse of a military member who is under investigation, suspicion, or prosecution?

3. Are you a family member of a military person who is under investigation, suspicion, or prosecution?

Read on, you will find helpful information if you answered yes to any of the above. Every cop or lawyer show on TV has something about “Miranda” or “I want my rights!” We hear about rights so often you would imagine people know what they are and that the police would know to “give the rights.” Well, TV and movies aren’t reality. As a police officer it never ceased to amaze me how many suspects who had been through “the system” multiple times continued to waive their rights.

Trickery and deception by law enforcement is an ongoing part of their investigative techniques. Lying and deception by law enforcement is permitted by law and has been approved by the United States Supreme Court as legitimate investigative techniques. You on the other hand will be prosecuted if you lie to law enforcement. Thus the best course of action is to say nothing. You should read, Slobogin, Christopher, Deceit, Pretext, and Trickery: Investigative Lies By the Police, 76 OREGON L. REV. 775 (No. 4 Winter 1997), to get the full picture. There are many places on the web where you can read about investigator lies.

Are you the military member?

1. How may you end up being interrogated (or questioned) about a potential offense?

a. Military law enforcement: NCIS, CID, OSI, CGIS, MP, SP MAA.

b. Commander or others in the chain of command.

c. Civilians acting on behalf of the military or in a “joint investigation.”

a. This non-exclusive list includes: Exchange store-detectives/security, Family Services Personnel such as those in the family advocacy program, and mental health examiners.

2. How will this happen.

a. You will be arrested at the scene of the alleged crime: by Exchange store security, by MAA’s/MP, or caught in a buy-bust drug sting, for example.

b. You will be told to go to or more typically escorted to NCIS, CID, OSI, CGIS. Your command or escort is instructed not to tell you what is going on. This is part of the game to get you worried and set you up for interrogation. Under the escort circumstance you are not free to leave and so are “in custody.” If you are told to go to law enforcement you must obey that order. I think that’s wrong because it’s a set-up, but that’s the law. However, once there you do not have to waive your rights or cooperate — and you should not talk or cooperate.

c. Your commander or supervisor will start to ask you about an offense you may have committed.

3. In addition to Article 31, UCMJ, and United States v. Tempia (the military version of Miranda), there are some other rules and situations where you cannot be interrogated without having a lawyer present.

Are you the spouse?

a. If you are a civilian spouse your right to silence is more limited than the military member. The police only have to advise you of the right to remain silent and have legal counsel if you are suspected of an offense and are in custody. This situation while distressing is fortunately rare.

b. More often you are being approached so that the investigators can get information and evidence to use against your spouse and put him/her in jail.

c. You cannot be forced or ordered to talk to CID, NCIS, OSI, CGIS, or any other military law enforcement person about any alleged crime involving your spouse. It doesn’t matter whether you are in the military yourself. The investigator’s will not tell you that you can’t be forced to talk with them; many times they will leave you with the idea or impression that you must. If you start to question them they will change the topic. They will change the topic to how your help will help your spouse by cooperating with them. Remember, they are not there to help your spouse. They are there to gather evidence to put your spouse in jail. (Caution, as of October 2009, the Department of Defense is considering a change to the spousal privilege rule for situations where you and your spouse are both under investigation as co-conspirators in the same crime.)