Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Not competent for court-martial

An interesting situation for the Marines, where a recruit assaulted a staff sergeant in boot camp, and the Marines don’t know how to dispose the case. The recruit was found not competent to stand trial. The government has confined him for two years without charges for misconduct that, if he were convicted after trial, wouldn’t likely result in jail for that amount of time.

It appears the recruit was mentally unwell before entering the service yet managed to enlist. Under Rule for Court-Martial (R.C.M.) 909, no person may be brought to court-martial if they are suffering a mental disease or defect that renders them unable to understand the proceedings against them or to cooperate intelligently in their defense.

According to R.C.M. 909, servicemembers not found competent to stand trial are to be hospitalized pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241. The recruit is currently held in a federal prison hospital in Missouri, and the Marines are unsure whether to attempt an administrative separation, as it appears the recruit will not be competent to stand trial anytime soon.

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