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Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design

Note: This law applies only to Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design offenses allegedly committed on or after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design?

Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design military defense lawyersArticle 119b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses offenses related to child endangerment by design resulting in grievous bodily harm. This serious charge can have profound implications for anyone in the military community. Understanding the details of this charge and the potential consequences is essential for anyone suspecting they may be involved in such a matter.

What Constitutes Child Endangerment by Design?

Article 119b UCMJ pertains to situations where an individual intentionally engages in conduct that is likely to cause harm to a child under their care. The severity of the charge escalates if the endangerment results in grievous bodily harm—defined as severe physical injury that can cause long-term health problems. This can encompass actions such as neglect, physical violence, or placing a child in a hazardous environment deliberately.

Legal Consequences Under Article 119b

The legal ramifications of being charged under Article 119b UCMJ are significant. Conviction can lead to severe penalties, including long-term imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and loss of military benefits. The impact extends beyond immediate punishment, affecting one’s military career, personal relationships, and future civilian opportunities.

The Importance of a Skilled Military Defense Lawyer

If you or someone you know faces allegations of child endangerment by design resulting in grievous bodily harm, it is crucial to have a knowledgeable military defense lawyer. The complexities of the UCMJ require legal representation well-versed in military law and procedures. Having the right legal team can make a significant difference in navigating the judicial process, crafting a strong defense, and mitigating potential consequences.

At Gonzalez & Waddington, our commitment is to provide comprehensive and effective defense services to those facing military criminal charges. If you are dealing with an Article 119b UCMJ charge, contact us to protect your rights and receive the legal guidance you need during this challenging time.

What are the Elements of Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design Resulting in Grievous Bodily Harm?

  1. That the accused had a duty for the care of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That (state the name of the alleged victim) was then under the age of 16 years;
  3. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused endangered (state the name of the alleged victim)’s (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) through design by ______________; and
  4. That the accused’s conduct resulted in grievous bodily harm to (state the name of the alleged victim), to wit: __________.

What are the Elements of Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design Resulting in Harm?

  1. That the accused had a duty for the care of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That (state the name of the alleged victim) was then under the age of 16 years;
  3. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused endangered (state the name of the alleged victim)’s (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) through design by _____________; and
  4. That the accused’s conduct resulted in harm to (state the name of the alleged victim), to wit: ________.

What are the Elements of Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design (All Other Cases)?

  1. That the accused had a duty for the care of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That (state the name of the alleged victim) was then under the age of 16 years; and
  3. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused endangered (state the name of the alleged victim)’s (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) through design by ________________.

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design?

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design Resulting in Grievous Bodily Harm committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • 8 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design Resulting in Grievous Bodily Harm committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design is a Category 3 Offense – Confinement from 30-120 months (2 years and 6 months to 10 years)
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction
  • 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. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design Resulting in Harm committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • 5 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design Resulting in Harm committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design 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
  • 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. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design (All other cases) committed between 1 Jan 2019 to 27 Dec 2023:

  • 4 Years of Confinement
  • Dishonorable Discharge, BCD, Dismissal
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • Collateral Consequences of a Federal Felony Conviction

Maximum Punishment for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design (All other cases) committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design 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
  • 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. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Model Specification for Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design Resulting in grievous Bodily Harm:

In that____________(personal jurisdiction data), (at/on board—location), on or about ____ 20 __, had a duty for the care of ________, a child under the age of 16 years and did endanger the (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) of said ____________, by (leaving the said _________ unattended in (his) (her) quarters for over _________ (hours) (days) with no adult present in the home) (by failing to obtain medical care for the said_______’s diabetic condition) (_________), and that such conduct (was by design) (constituted culpable negligence) (which resulted in grievous bodily harm, to wit:________________) (broken leg) (deep cut) (fractured skull)).

Model Specification for Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design Resulting in Harm:

In that _________ (personal jurisdiction data), (at/on board—location), on or about _________ 20 __, had a duty for the care of _________, a child under the age of 16 years, and did endanger the (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) of said _________, by (leaving the said _________unattended in (his) (her) quarters for over _________ (hours) (days) with no adult present in the home) (by failing to obtain medical care for the said _________’s diabetic condition) (______________), and that such conduct (was by design) (constituted culpable negligence) (which resulted in (harm, to wit:________) (a black eye) (bloody nose) (minor cut)).

NOTE: The language of the relevant statute, 10 U.S.C. § 919b, provides that, “Any person subject to this chapter who has a duty for the care of a child under the age of 16 years, who, through design or culpable negligence, endangers the child’s mental or physical health, safety, or welfare, shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

Only the MCM’s sample specification for Child Endangerment where no harm is alleged (“Other cases,” below) uses the language “was responsible for the care of.” The other sample specifications for Child Endangerment use the actual statutory language of “had a duty for the care of.”

Model Specification for Article 119b UCMJ Endangerment by Design Other cases:

In that __________(personal jurisdiction data), (at/on board—location), on or about ______ 20 __, was responsible for the care of __________, a child under the age of 16 years, and did endanger the (mental health) (physical health) (safety) (welfare) of said________, by (leaving the said _____________ unattended in (his) (her) quarters for over _________ (hours) (days) with no adult present in the home) (by failing to obtain medical care for the said ___________’s diabetic condition) (___________), and that such conduct (was by design) (constituted culpable negligence).

What are the Definitions for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design?

“Endanger” means to subject one to a reasonable probability of harm.

“Duty of care” is determined by the totality of the circumstances and may be established by statute, regulation, legal parent-child relationship, mutual agreement, or assumption of control or custody by affirmative act. When there is no duty of care for a child, there is no offense under this paragraph. Thus, there is no offense when a stranger makes no effort to feed a starving child or an individual, such as a neighbor, and is not charged with a child’s care, which does not prevent the child from running and playing in the street.

“Design” means on purpose, intentionally, or according to plan and requires specific intent to endanger the child.

“Culpable negligence” is a degree of carelessness greater than simple negligence. It is a negligent act or omission accompanied by a culpable disregard for the foreseeable consequences to others of that act or omission. In the context of this offense, culpable negligence may include acts that, when viewed in the light of human experience, might foreseeably result in harm to a child.

The age and maturity of the child, the conditions surrounding the neglectful conduct, the proximity of assistance available, the nature of the environment in which the child may have been left, the provisions made for care of the child, and the location of the parent or adult responsible for the child relative to the

location of the child, among others, may be considered in determining whether the conduct constituted culpable negligence. (While this offense may be committed against any child under 16, the age of the victim is a factor in the culpable negligence determination.

Leaving a teenager alone for an evening may not be culpable (or even simple) negligence; leaving an infant or toddler for the same period might constitute culpable negligence. On the other hand, leaving a teenager without supervision for an extended period while the accused was on temporary duty outside commuting distance might constitute culpable negligence.))

If actual harm not alleged: If the endangerment is not alleged to have resulted in actual harm, give the following instruction:

Actual physical or mental harm to the child is not required. The offense requires that the accused’s actions reasonably could have caused physical or mental harm or suffering.

If harm is alleged. If the endangerment is alleged to have resulted in harm, give the following instruction:

“Harm” means actual physical or mental injury to the child.

If grievous bodily harm is alleged. If the endangerment is alleged to have resulted in grievous bodily harm, give the following instruction:

“Grievous bodily harm” means bodily injury that involves a substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

Other Instructions. If “by design” is alleged, Instruction 7-3, Circumstantial Evidence (Intent), is normally applicable; Instruction 5-12, Voluntary Intoxication, may be raised by the evidence.

Overview of Article Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design

Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the offense of child endangerment by design. This provision applies when a military service member recklessly or intentionally engages in conduct that places a child under the age of 16 at risk of physical injury, mental harm, or death. The offense requires proof that the accused had a duty of care, custody, or control over the child and willfully disregarded the substantial risk their actions posed.

Hiring a Military Defense Lawyer for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design

Unlike general negligence, child endangerment by design involves a higher threshold of recklessness or intentionality, where the service member consciously disregards a known and substantial risk. This conduct can include direct actions, such as physical abuse, or indirect actions, such as exposing the child to hazardous environments or failing to provide necessary care. Conviction under Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design can result in severe consequences, including imprisonment, dishonorable discharge, and forfeiture of pay.

Selecting the Best Military Defense Lawyers for Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design

The military justice system treats child endangerment with utmost seriousness, reflecting the armed forces’ commitment to protecting vulnerable individuals within their ranks. Defenses against this charge may involve demonstrating the absence of recklessness or intent, showing that the accused took reasonable steps to protect the child, or disputing the existence of a duty of care.

Article 119b UCMJ Child Endangerment by Design underscores the importance of safeguarding children and holding service members accountable for conduct that jeopardizes their well-being, reinforcing the military’s dedication to maintaining ethical and responsible behavior among its personnel.

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