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Abuse of Power

What is abuse of power?

The term “abuse of power” is a term meaning that someone with authority over one or several other people uses his/her power to gain a benefit or other rewards. When a commanding officer tries to abuse his/her power, the victim of the abuse of power can file a complaint with their chain of command or with the IG office on his/her base. The military usually frowns upon abuse of power and will investigate the allegations and proceed as the evidence dictates. The soldier may need to contact the Experts or a lawyer that specializes in the proper procedure when filing an abuse of power claim.

How would a Navy sailor go about filing a complaint against his/her senior officer if he/she feels that the senior officer is trying to abuse his/her power?

If the sailor believes that he/she is a victim of abuse of power then the sailor would need to contact their IG office on his/her base and file a complaint against the senior officer. The IG office may have the sailor go to counseling while they investigate the allegations. The sailor should not confront or tell the senior officer that he/she is filing the complaint with IG.

What would the percentage be for a soldier to upgrade their discharge status from other than honorable if the solider has proof that they have made positive life changes and that their original charge was due to abuse of power?

If the soldier’s discharge was within the last 15 years then the soldier needs to file a DD293 form and try to get his/her discharge upgraded. The soldier would need to present the board with all their evidence that pertains to the abuse of power and that they have changed their life for the better and that he/she deserves the upgrade in the discharge. The chances are generally low, about 33%, due to the board rarely granting upgrades in discharge statuses.

If a commanding officer requires their soldiers to be at a meeting at 2:30am and then threaten to fire or discipline the soldier for not showing up be considered abuse of power?

Requiring a soldier to be at a meeting at 2:30am is not considered abuse of power since all soldiers are considered on duty 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If the meeting was meant to demean or embarrass the soldiers, then that would be abuse of power, but if it was not meant to demean or embarrass the soldiers then that is not abuse of power. If the command decides that discipline and/or termination from the job at hand is right for the soldier missing the meeting, then that is their decision and it is not illegal.

How would a soldier go about filing a Congressional Complaint against a military unit for abuse of power?

The soldier would need to contact their congressional representative. The soldier could contact his/her congressman of his/her district or contact both of his/her state senators. The soldier would need to do this either by writing (which is the best way) or by phone and also explain the situation. Once the complaint has been received, the senator or congressman will contact the military and start an investigation into the allegations.

Abuse of power in the military is a very stressful and confusing thing. A soldier may feel that since the person is in a position of power, that he/she does not have any rights. The soldier would feel like they are alone and unable to stop the abuse of power. There may be several questions or concerns the soldier may face and he/she may need to consult an Expert on the subject to receive the guidance he/she needs to proceed in the situation regarding the abuse of power.

Ask a Military Lawyer

P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Military Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 11990
Experience:  Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
11181181
Type Your Military Law Question Here...
characters left:
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Military Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

P. Simmons
Military Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 11441
Retired Marine Corps lawyer and Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with 12+ yrs. of experience.
Allen M., Esq.
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 4035
Lawyer and current JAG officer.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 1149
Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG

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