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Slander In The Military

What is slander? What will JAG or UCMJ do if a military member slanders another? It is important to know your rights as a member of the military or as a civilian. With busy work schedules and activities, it is not always convenient to visit with an attorney, and therefore the next best option may be to get online assistance from a verified legal Expert that can point you on the right path. Read below where Experts have answered these questions and more regarding slander.

What rights does an active duty husband have against his estranged wife who has slandered his name? 

Case Details: The wife is an attorney. She accessed husband's telephone records by misrepresentation and has made harassing phone calls; making slanderous statements. She has also accessed husband’s private bank account and transferred funds from his account.

In this case, the local law enforcement should be contacted to make a report. If the wife is accessing financial information without permission or power of attorney, this is a crime that may be prosecuted. The husband should also inform his office commanders of the situation so that they are not surprised if she attempts contacting one of them. Filing for a divorce should also be considered as it will make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute the wife. As far as the slanderous comments and false accusations, if this is harming the husband’s reputation then it is considered defamation.

In Nevada, can an individual sue his or her military supervisor for slander/hostile work environment?

No, a military member cannot sue. The options are to use available appeal routes on the OER to include a commander’s inquiry and up through Army Board of Correction of Records. The supervisor could file an IG complaint and complain to congressperson, but cannot sue his or supervisor. This is barred by the Supreme Court Feres doctrine.

Once out of the military, can an individual sue for slander?

No, it is a complete bar. The reasoning behind it is this would allow lawsuits to be prejudicial to good order and discipline, and also because there are no “alternative” solutions and appeals and rights enforcement processes available.

Is slander a chargeable offense under the UCMJ?

No, slander is not an offense under the UCMJ. It may be possible to charge under Article 134, if the conduct was of a nature to bring discredit to the services or if the conduct was prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the Armed Forces.

What is the maximum punishment via Court Martial for slander?

Punishment is not applicable because there is no offense of slander under the UCMJ. The closest the individual might be able to come would be a false office statement (Dishonorable Discharge and 5 years), or a various disrespect offense by a junior to a senior, which would depend on the circumstances (DD and 2). Without more specific information, that is the closest. The unit and base library will have a copy of the Manual for Court Martial, and an individual could review all of the various types of offenses and their punishments.

Is it possible to sue another military member for slander, defamation of character and libel?

Yes, it is possible to sue a member if a person can prove that he or she lied, but a defamation suit is never easy and almost always a mess. Defamation is defined as a false statement communicated to another person that damages individual’s reputation by exposing individual to hatred, contempt, or ridicule from other people. Libel is communicating a defamatory statement by writing or picture. Slander is defamation by oral or spoken communications. If such words were written or spoken of an individual, the individual will not be considered defamed if the words were true. Truth is a complete defense to defamation. Even if an individual’s reputation is damaged by a defamatory communication, the individual cannot recover if the communication was true. To win a case of slander an individual needs to show that a statement was made, that it was false, and that it damaged his or her reputation, and that he or she suffered a monetary loss as a result.

What will JAG do if a military member slanders another?

There are not laws specifically criminalizing slander. Depending on the rank of the person, there may be violations of “conduct unbecoming,” provoking speech or gestures, or something under the general article. Finally, JAG won’t do anything without the commander’s approval. The commander chooses what charges are brought.

If you have been a victim of slander or been accused of slander, it is important to get reliable information as to your best options. A consultation with a lawyer may be quite expensive. Your next best choice may be to contact an Expert. Verified legal Experts are available to answer all questions, day or night, at your convenience.

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