Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 133 - Conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman
“Any commissioned officer, cadet, or midshipman who is convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
(1) That the accused did or omitted to do certain acts; and
(2) That, under the circumstances, these acts or omissions constituted conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
(1) Gentleman. As used in this article, “gentleman” includes both male and female commissioned officers, cadets, and midshipmen.
(2) Nature of offense. Conduct violative of this article is action or behavior in an official capacity which, in dishonoring or disgracing the person as an officer, seriously compromises the officer’s character as a gentleman, or action or behavior in an unofficial or private capacity which, in dishonoring or disgracing the officer personally, seriously compromises the person’s standing as an officer. There are certain moral attributes common to the ideal officer and the perfect gentleman, a lack of which is indicated by acts of dishonesty, unfair dealing, indecency, indecorum, lawlessness, injustice, or cruelty. Not everyone is or can be expected to meet unrealistically high moral standards, but there is a limit of tolerance based on customs of the service and military necessity below which the personal standards of an officer, cadet, or midshipman cannot fall without seriously compromising the person’s standing as an officer, cadet, or midshipman or the person’s character as a gentleman.
This article prohibits conduct by a commissioned officer, cadet or midshipman which, taking all the circumstances into consideration, is thus compromising. This article includes acts made punishable by any other article, provided these acts amount to conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman. Thus, a commissioned officer who steals property violates both this article and Article 121.
Whenever the offense charged is the same as a specific offense set forth in this Manual, the elements of proof are the same as those set forth in the paragraph which treats that specific offense, with the additional requirement that the act or omission constitutes conduct unbecoming an officer and gentleman.
(3) Examples of offenses. Instances of violation of this article include knowingly making a false official statement; dishonorable failure to pay a debt; cheating on an exam; opening and reading a letter of another without authority; using insulting or defamatory language to another officer in that officer’s presence or about that officer to other military persons; being drunk and disorderly in a public place; public association with known prostitutes; committing or attempting to commit a crime involving moral turpitude; and failing without good cause to support the officer’s family.
Lesser included offense.
Dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for a period not in excess of that authorized for the most analogous (similar) offense for which a punishment is prescribed in this Manual, or, if none is prescribed, for 1 year.
Next Article> Article 134-General article >
Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 59
Punitive Articles of the UCMJ
Article 89: Disrespect toward a superior commissioned officer
“Any person subject to this chapter who behaves with disrespect toward his superior commissioned officer shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”
(1) That the accused did or omitted certain acts or used certain language to or concerning a certain commissioned officer;
(2) That such behavior or language was directed toward that officer;
(3) That the officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the superior commissioned officer of the accused;
(4) That the accused then knew that the commissioned officer toward whom the acts, omissions, or words were directed was the accused’s superior commissioned officer; and
(5) That, under the circumstances, the behavior or language was disrespectful to that commissioned officer.
(1) Superior commissioned officer.
(a) Accused and victim in same armed force. If the accused and the victim are in the same armed force, the victim is a “superior commissioned officer” of the accused when either superior in rank or command to the accused; however, the victim is not a “superior commissioned officer”of the accused if the victim is inferior in command, even though superior in rank.
(b) Accused and victim in different armed forces. If the accused and the victim are in different armed forces, the victim is a “superior commissioned officer” of the accused when the victim is a commissioned officer and superior in the chain of command over the accused or when the victim, not a medical officer or a chaplain, is senior in grade to the accused and both are detained by a hostile entity so that recourse to the normal chain of command is prevented.
The victim is not a “superior commissioned officer” of the accused merely because the victim is superior in grade to the accused.
(c) Execution of office. It is not necessary that the “superior commissioned officer” be in the execution of office at the time of the disrespectful behavior.
If the accused did not know that the person against whom the acts or words were directed was the accused’s superior commissioned officer, the accused may not be convicted of a violation of this article. Knowledge may be proved by circumstantial evidence.
(3) Disrespect. Disrespectful behavior is that which detracts from the respect due the authority and person of a superior commissioned officer. It may consist of acts or language, however, expressed, and it is immaterial whether they refer to the superior as an officer or as a private individual. Disrespect by words may be conveyed by abusive epithets or other contemptuous or denunciatory language. The truth is no defense. Disrespect by acts includes neglecting the customary salute or showing a marked disdain, indifference, insolence, impertinence, undue familiarity, or other rudeness in the presence of the superior officer.
(4) Presence. It is not essential that the disrespectful behavior is in the presence of the superior, but ordinarily, one should not be held accountable under this article for what was said or done in a purely private conversation.
(5) Special defense—unprotected victim. A superior commissioned officer whose conduct in relation to the accused under all the circumstances departs substantially from the required standards appropriate to that officer’s rank or position under similar circumstances loses the protection of this article.
That accused may not be convicted of being disrespectful to the officer who has so lost the entitlement to respect protected by Article 89.
Lesser included offenses.
(1) Article 117—provoking speeches or gestures
(2) Article 80—attempts
Bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.
Next Article> Article 90-Assaulting or willfully disobeying superior commissioned officer >
Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 13