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Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images? Call our experienced military defense lawyers at 1-800-921-8607 for a free consultation.

“Your career, reputation, and even your freedom hang in the balance. A single misstep could derail everything you’ve worked for. This isn’t just a legal matter; it’s a fight for your future.” (Michael Waddington, Military Defense Lawyer).

Note: This law applies only to Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images offenses allegedly committed on and after 12 Dec 2017. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

What is Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images?

Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images Gonzalez & Waddington - Attorneys at LawArticle 117a of the UCMJ addresses the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images. This offense involves knowingly sharing explicit images without the depicted person’s consent, causing potential harm, harassment, or distress. The law aims to protect individuals’ privacy and uphold the integrity of the military environment. Convictions can lead to severe consequences, including imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

If you are accused under Article 117a UCMJ, seeking legal assistance from the best military defense lawyers is critical. Experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyers can provide a robust defense, ensuring your rights are protected throughout the legal process. The complexities of military law require skilled defense strategies to navigate the charges effectively, mitigate potential penalties, and safeguard your future.

What are the Elements of Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images?

  • That (state the time and place alleged), the accused knowingly and wrongfully (broadcasted) (distributed) a visual image;

  • That the visual image is [(an intimate visual image of) (a visual image of sexually explicit conduct involving)] another person [to wit: (state the name of the person depicted)];

  • That the person depicted in the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct):

    • was at least 18 years of age at the time the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct) was created, and
    • is identifiable from the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct)] itself or from information displayed in connection with the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct), and
    • did not explicitly consent to the (broadcast) (distribution) of the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct);
  • That the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct) was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the person depicted) retained a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any (broadcast) (distribution) of the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct);

  • That the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the (broadcast) (distribution) of the (intimate visual image) (visual image of sexually explicit conduct) was likely to:

    • cause (harm) (harassment) (intimidation) (emotional distress) (financial loss) for (state the name of the person depicted), or
    • harm substantially (state the name of the person depicted) with respect to (his) (her) (health) (safety) (business) (calling) (career) (financial condition) (reputation) (personal relationships); and
  • That the conduct of the accused, under the circumstances, had a reasonably direct and palpable connection to a military mission or military environment. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images?

For offenses committed between 12 Dec 2017 and 27 Dec 2023:

For offenses committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images is a Category 2 Offense
  • Mandatory confinement ranges from 1-36 months (1 month to 3 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • Collateral Consequences of Registration as a State & Federal Sex Offender
  • Note: The Military Judge MAY impose a period of confinement less than the jurisdictional maximum period of confinement upon finding specific facts that warrant such a sentence.

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Collateral Consequences of a Federal Conviction for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

  • Employment will be severely limited (many employers won’t hire a convict)
  • Inability to enroll in college, university, or trade school
  • Loss of GI Bill
  • Loss of military career
  • Loss of retirement benefits.
  • Loss of VA benefits.
  • Loss of medical benefits.
  • Loss of spouse, family members, and friends
  • Loss of income while in jail
  • Mental, physical suffering before and after prison
  • Ineligibility for public benefits, such as food stamps
  • Ineligibility for government-sponsored student loans and grants;
  • Restrictions on certain types of employment or occupational licenses;
  • Ineligibility to provide foster care to minor family members
  • Prohibitions on working with children
  • Loss of professional license or certification
  • Limitations on adoption or foster care

Sample Specification for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

In that LT Steve Simmons, US Navy, did, at or near NB Norfolk, Virginia, on or about 17 Dec 2025, knowingly and wrongfully distribute an intimate visual image of Jane Victim, a person who was at least 18 years of age when the image was created, is identifiable from the image itself, and did not explicitly consent to the distribution of the image, when the accused knew the image was made under circumstances in which Jane Victim retained a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any distribution of the image, and where the accused knew that the distribution of the image was likely to cause emotional distress, to wit: embarrass and humiliate Jane Victim, and that, under the circumstances, such conduct had a reasonably direct and palpable connection to military mission.

Model Specification for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

In that ______ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board—location), on or about ______, knowingly and wrongfully [(distribute) (broadcast)] [an intimate visual image of ______) (a visual image of sexually explicit conduct involving_____)], a person who was at least 18 years of age when the image was created, is identifiable from (the image itself) (information conveyed in connection with the image), and did not explicitly consent to the (broadcast) (distribution) of the image, when the accused (knew) (reasonably should have known) the image was made under circumstances in which _______ retained a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any (broadcast) (distribution) of the image, and where the accused (knew) (reasonably should have known) that the (broadcast) (distribution) of the image was likely to [cause (harm) (harassment) (intimidation) (emotional distress) (financial loss), to wit: __________] [harm substantially the (health) (safety) (business) (calling) (career) (financial condition) (reputation) (personal relationships), to wit: ______] and that, under the circumstances, such conduct had a reasonably direct and palpable connection to (military mission) (military environment).

What are the Definitions for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images?

What Does Knowingly Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

An act is done “knowingly” when it is done intentionally and on purpose. An act done as the result of a mistake or accident is not done “knowingly.”

What Does Wrongfully Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

“Wrongfully” means without legal excuse or justification. (A (broadcast) (distribution) of an image is not wrongful if the disclosure of the image was in the bona fide public interest. For example, a (broadcast) (distribution) of an image is not wrongful if done pursuant to any lawful law enforcement, correctional, or intelligence activity. Also, a (broadcast) (distribution) of an image is not wrongful if done during the reporting of unlawful activity or done pursuant to a subpoena or court order for use in a legal proceeding).

What Does Broadcast Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

The term “broadcast” means to electronically transmit a visual image with the intent that it be viewed by a person or persons.

What Does Distribute Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

The term “distribute” means to deliver to the actual or constructive possession of another person, including transmission by mail or electronic means.

What Does Intimate Visual Image Mean in Article 117a UCMJ Cases?

The term “intimate visual image” means a visual image that depicts a private area of a person.

What Does Private Area Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

The term “private area” means the naked or underwear-clad genitalia, anus, buttocks, or female areola or nipple.

What Does Reasonable Expectation of Privacy Mean in Article 117a UCMJ Cases?

The term “reasonable expectation of privacy” means circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a private area of the person, or sexually explicit conduct involving the person, would not be visible to the public. Whether a reasonable expectation of privacy exists is determined based on the totality of the circumstances.

What Does Sexually Explicit Conduct Mean Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Case?

The term “sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated genital-genital contact,  oral-genital contact, anal-genital contact, or oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex, bestiality, masturbation, or sadistic or masochistic abuse.

The term “visual image” means the following:

(A) Any developed or undeveloped photograph, picture, film, or video;

(B) Any digital or computer image, picture, film, or video made by any means, including those transmitted by any means, including streaming media, even if not stored in a permanent format;

(C) Any digital or electronic data capable of conversion into a visual image.

A “reasonably direct and palpable connection to a military mission or military environment” means conduct that has a measurably divisive effect on unit or organization discipline, morale, or cohesion, or must be clearly detrimental to the authority or stature of or respect toward a Servicemember. The connection between the conduct and a military mission or military environment is contextually oriented and cannot be evidenced by conduct that is connected only in a remote or indirect sense.

Voluntary intoxication and “knew or reasonably should have known.” Suppose there is evidence that the accused was intoxicated at the time of the broadcast/distribution. In that case, the following instruction may be appropriate with respect to whether the accused “knew or reasonably should have known” (1) the visual image was made under circumstances in which the person depicted retained a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any broadcast/distribution, or (2) the broadcast/distribution was likely to cause harm, harassment, intimidation, etc.

The evidence has raised the issue of voluntary intoxication in relation to the offense of (state the alleged offense). With respect to that offense, I advised you earlier that the government is required to prove that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the visual image was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the person depicted) retained a reasonable expectation of privacy regarding any broadcast or distribution of the visual image.

I also advised you earlier that the government is required to prove that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the (broadcast) (distribution) of the visual image was likely to cause harm, harassment, intimidation, emotional distress, or financial loss for (state the name of the person depicted), or to harm substantially (state the name of the person depicted) with respect to (his) (her) health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships. In deciding whether the accused had such knowledge, you should consider the evidence of voluntary intoxication.

The law recognizes that a person’s ordinary thought process may be materially affected when (he) (she) is under the influence of intoxicants. Thus, evidence that the accused was intoxicated may, either alone or together with other evidence in the case, cause you to have a reasonable doubt that the accused had the required knowledge. On the other hand, the fact that the accused may have been intoxicated at the time of the offense does not necessarily indicate that (he) (she) was unable to have the required knowledge because a person may be drunk yet still be aware at that time of (his) (her) actions and their probable results.

In deciding whether the accused had the required knowledge, you should consider the effect of intoxication and the other evidence in the case. The burden of proof is on the prosecution to establish the accused’s guilt. If you are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had the required knowledge, the accused will not avoid criminal responsibility because of voluntary intoxication.

However, on the question of whether the accused “reasonably should have known” something, you may not consider the accused’s intoxication, if any, because what a person reasonably should have known refers to what an ordinary, prudent, sober adult would have reasonably known under the circumstances of this case.

In summary, voluntary intoxication should be considered in determining whether the accused had actual knowledge. Voluntary intoxication should not be considered in determining whether the accused “reasonably should have known” something.

What are the collateral consequences of having to register as a convicted sex offender?

Sex Offenders Often Cannot Live Near or Visit “Places Where Children Congregate.”
What does that mean? It means a registered sex offender may not be allowed to live near or visit schools, parks and playgrounds, beaches, shopping malls, stores, movie theaters, community centers, places of worship, libraries, recreational facilities, skating rinks, bus stops, and many more.

What are the Collateral Consequences of a Conviction of Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images?

A military member convicted of Article 117a UCMJ: Wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images must register as a sex offender. A registered sex offender may suffer the following collateral consequences:
  • Denied housing or difficulty finding housing
  • Loss of family
  • Isolation
  • No educational opportunities
  • Unemployable or difficulty finding employment
  • Physical assault
  • Increased homelessness
  • Harassment
  • Financial hardship
  • Stigmatization
  • The decline in mental health
  • No internet access
  • Deterioration of social bonds
  • Loss of residency
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Social disgrace and humiliation
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of custody of children
  • Lack of privacy

Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Military Defense Lawyers

Article 117a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) criminalizes the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images. This article aims to protect individuals’ privacy and dignity by penalizing those who share intimate images without consent.

Importance of Legal Representation

Accusations under Article 117a necessitate immediate legal representation from the best military defense lawyers. Experienced lawyers can navigate the complexities of military law, challenge evidence, and protect the rights of the accused, aiming for the best possible outcome.

If you are suspected or accused of Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images, speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your case.

Introduction to Article 117a UCMJ: Wrongful Broadcast or Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

Article 117a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images. This article aims to protect individual’s privacy and dignity by criminalizing the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. The military recognizes the severe impact such actions can have on victims and seeks to maintain good order and discipline by penalizing these offenses.

Basics of Article 117a UCMJ: Wrongful Broadcast or Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

To secure a conviction for the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images under Article 117a, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Visual Image: The accused knowingly and wrongfully broadcasts or distributes a visual image of another person.
  • Intimate Nature: The image depicted the private area of that other person or showed them engaged in a sexual act.
  • Consent: The accused knew or reasonably should have known that the depicted person did not consent to the broadcast or distribution of the image.
  • Intent: The broadcast or distribution was done with intent to harm, harass, intimidate, or coerce the depicted person.

Collateral Consequences of Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast or Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Conviction

A conviction for the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images under Article 117a has numerous collateral consequences, including:

  • Employment Challenges: Finding civilian employment can be extremely difficult for individuals with a dishonorable discharge and a conviction for a privacy-related offense. Many employers are hesitant to hire individuals with such a conviction.
  • Loss of Military Benefits: Convicted individuals typically lose all military benefits, including retirement pay, healthcare benefits, and access to military facilities.
  • Social Stigma: The social stigma attached to being convicted of broadcasting or distributing intimate images can lead to isolation, harassment, and difficulties in maintaining personal relationships.
  • Legal Restrictions: Convicted individuals may face various legal restrictions, including limits on internet usage and contact with certain individuals.

Impact on the Victim in Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Cases

The impact of the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images on the victim can be profound and long-lasting. Victims may experience a range of emotional, psychological, and social effects, including:

  • Emotional Trauma: Feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety are common among victims of non-consensual image sharing. These feelings can persist for a long time and affect various aspects of the victim’s life.
  • Psychological Issues: Victims may develop mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other anxiety disorders.
  • Social Isolation: The public exposure of intimate images can lead to social isolation as victims may withdraw from social interactions to avoid judgment and embarrassment.
  • Relationship Difficulties: Trust issues and difficulties in forming healthy relationships are common among survivors of non-consensual image sharing.
  • Reputational Damage: The widespread distribution of intimate images can cause significant reputational damage, affecting personal and professional opportunities.

Legal Defenses for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast or Distribution of Intimate Visual Images

Accused individuals have the right to present a defense against charges of wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images. Common defenses include:

  • Lack of Knowledge: The defense may argue that the accused did not know that the depicted person did not consent to the broadcast or distribution of the image.
  • Consent: The defense may present evidence that the depicted person consented to the broadcast or distribution of the image.
  • Mistaken Identity: The defense may argue that the accused was not the individual who broadcasted or distributed the image.
  • No Intent to Harm: The defense may argue that the broadcast or distribution was not intended to harm, harass, intimidate, or coerce the depicted person.

Importance of Legal Representation in Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Cases

Given the serious nature of the charges and the severe consequences of a conviction, it is crucial for individuals accused of wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images under Article 117a to seek experienced legal representation. A qualified military defense attorney can provide guidance, build a strong defense, and protect the accused’s rights throughout the legal process.

Military Defense Lawyers for Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Cases

Article 117a UCMJ’s provisions on the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images are designed to protect individuals’ privacy and dignity within the military community. The severe penalties and collateral consequences underscore the gravity of such offenses. Understanding the elements of the offense, potential defenses, and the importance of legal representation is essential for anyone facing such charges.

For more information on Article 117a UCMJ Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images military law and the UCMJ, visit the official UCMJ website.

Wrongful Broadcast of Distribution of Intimate Visual Images Reporting Data

“In APY 22-23, the Department recorded several reports concerning the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images involving academy students.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10

“The wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images has become a significant concern, with multiple incidents reported in the latest academic year.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 8

Demographics and Trends

“Most victims in investigations related to the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images are female, reflecting broader trends in sexual misconduct cases.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18

“Incidents involving the wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images predominantly involved subjects aged 16-24, who form the primary demographic within military academies.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18

Military Justice Outcomes

“By the end of APY 22-23, numerous cases of wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images had advanced to military justice proceedings, underscoring the gravity of these offenses.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 15

“Cases of wrongful broadcast or distribution of intimate visual images resulted in various disciplinary measures, including court-martial charges, nonjudicial punishment, and administrative discharges.”
Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 16

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