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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26522
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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Sir, I am a army reserve officer. I have a friend who lied

Resolved Question:

Sir, I am a army reserve officer. I have a friend who lied about being a lawyer to most of the command. The brigade commander who is a lawyer found out and is calling him to his office in the morning. What could happen to him if he found oit to be lying about being a lawyer on the civilian side?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Military Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for the chance to help. I am an attorney with over 12 years military law experience.

The real question is context. What was the nature of the lies? Was he doing this to attempt to gain status? To gain a particular position? Can you give some context?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He was lying to gain respect. He said he was a lawyer in his civilian job and over the course of lying may have gotten the respect he wanted.


 


He lied about being a part of a law firm, pasding the bar, etc.


 


He may have lied to a general officer while applying to be his aide. He used the same lie as stated above.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

He was lying to gain respect. He said he was a lawyer in his civilian job and over the course of lying may have gotten the respect he wanted.


 


He lied about being a part of a law firm, pasding the bar, etc.


 


He may have lied to a general officer while applying to be his aide. He used the same lie as stated above.


 


What is the likely punishment he will receive?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Thank you

The potential problem your friend has is Article 107 UCMJ. This section of the military justice code makes it a crime to give a "false official statement".

It does not make all lying a crime...such a law would not be constitutional for many reasons. But it does make particular false statements criminal, specifically if the false statement is an "official"

Here is what the statute provides

Any person subject to this chapter who, with intent to deceive, signs any false record, return, regulation, order, or other official document, knowing it to be false, or makes any other false official statement knowing it to be false, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

What you describe, at a minimum the statement to the general in the context of applying to be an aid would be an official statement. They others may or may not be, again depending on context...but if they were made to enhance his reputation as an officer within the community? It would likely qualify as a crime.

What should your friend do? I would not make any further statements. At all. What you describe, this officer is likely looking at disciplinary action. It COULD include processing for a BOI (board of inquiry). That could lead to their discharge from the military with an other than honorable conditions discharge. No good reason to give a statement and either lie more or confess. At this point, the best thing the officer can do is assert their right to remain silent, as provided in Art 31 UCMJ.


Please let me know if you have more questions...happy to assist if I can

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sir if he remains silent what would happen? Would there be a investigatipn then a trial?

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell me the rank of the officer in question (01, 04, etc)?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

02

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Has he or she been in the service for more than 6 months?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Roger sir. He has been in for 5 years

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
One more....the lies in question...how many were "in uniform" or in a setting that was not just "social"? Several?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Most in uniform while working in the office.

Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Your friend is in a tough spot.

What you describe? It may not wind up at court...it may be that it is resolved administratively (for example at NJP or Art 15 punishment). But they still face separation.

And it COULD go to court. That would be up to the commander.

But at this point? I sure would consider not making it worse...your friend has an absolute right to invoke their right to silence...now would be a good time to do so.

That would lead to an investigation. But if they go in and confess that will also lead to an investigation. At this point, no good reason to help the government in their case.

It could go to a court martial. It could go to NJP.

That will depend on the commander and what they believe is appropriate.

P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 26522
Experience: Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
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