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UCMJ Article 120c Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording? 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).

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Note: This law applies only to Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019. Effective 28 July 2023, EO 14103 added the words “without legal justification or lawful authorization” to the Model Specifications and Elements of these offenses.

What is Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording?

Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent RecordingArticle 120c of the UCMJ addresses the broadcasting or distribution of an indecent recording without legal justification or lawful authorization. This offense involves the unauthorized sharing of private recordings that invade the privacy of individuals and carry serious legal consequences, including confinement, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

If you are accused of broadcasting or distributing an indecent recording, it is crucial to seek assistance from the best military defense lawyers. Experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyers can navigate the complexities of military law, protect your rights, and develop a strong defense strategy to mitigate the severe penalties associated with these charges. A robust legal defense can significantly impact your case’s outcome, helping preserve your career and reputation within the military.

Facing accusations under Article 120c UCMJ is a daunting experience. Still, with the right legal support, you can ensure that your rights are defended and your case is handled with the utmost care and diligence.

What are the Elements of Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused, without legal justification or lawful authorization, knowingly (broadcast) (distributed) a recording of the private area of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  2. That the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  3. That the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim);
  4. That the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy; and
  5. That the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

What are the Abusive Sexual Contact Offenses Under Article 120c UCMJ?

What are the Maximum Punishments for Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording, Article 120c UCMJ?

Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording court martial attorneysNote: The maximum and minimum punishments for UCMJ Article 120c Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording vary depending on the date of the offense. In the military, the crime of UCMJ Article 120c, Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording, is a serious offense sex offense. It carries significant mandatory punishments. Offenses committed after December 27, 2023, carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 1-36 months. If convicted, the defendant must register as a Federal and State sex offender.

Maximum Punishment for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording committed between 1 Jan 2019 and 27 Dec 2023:

  • 7 Years of Confinement
  • 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

Maximum Punishment for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording committed after 27 Dec 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording, Article 120c UCMJ, 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. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

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.

Potential Collateral Consequences of a Conviction of Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

A military member convicted of Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording 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

Sample Model Specification: Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

In that PFC Ted Trickster, US Army, did, at or near Fort Moore, Georgia, on or about 27 Oct 2024, without legal justification or lawful authorization knowingly distribute a recording of the private area of Janice Victim, when the said accused knew or reasonably should have known that the said recording was made without the consent of Janice Victim and under circumstances in which she had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Model Specification: Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

In that _________ (personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board—location), on or about _______ 20__, without legal justification or lawful authorization knowingly (broadcast) (distribute) a recording of the private area of __________, when the said accused knew or reasonably should have known that the said recording was made without the consent of _____________ and under circumstances in which (he) (she) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

What are the Definitions for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Maximum Punishment for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording?

“Wrongful” under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording means without legal justification or lawful authorization.
When done intentionally and intentionally, an act is done “knowingly” under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording. An act done as the result of a mistake or accident is not done “knowingly.”Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording
“Private area” means the naked or underwear-clad genitalia, anus, buttocks, or female areola or nipple. “Under circumstances in which that other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy” or “reasonable expectation of privacy” means: (A) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy without being concerned that an image of a private area of the person was being captured; or (B) circumstances in which a reasonable person would believe that a person’s private area would not be visible to the public.
“Broadcast” under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording means electronically transmitting a visual image with the intent that a person or persons view it. “Distribute” under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording means delivering to the actual or constructive possession of another, including transmission by electronic means. “Recording” under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording means a still or moving visual image captured or recorded by any means.

Voluntary intoxication and mistake of fact as to consent in Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording cases.

If there is evidence of the accused’s voluntary intoxication in an Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording case, the following instruction is appropriate: There has been some evidence concerning the accused’s state of intoxication at the time of the alleged offense. On whether the accused’s mistaken belief, if any, was reasonable, you may not consider the accused’s intoxication because a reasonable belief is one that an ordinary, prudent, sober adult would have under the circumstances of this case. Voluntary intoxication does not permit what would be an unreasonable belief in the mind of a sober person to be considered reasonable because the person is intoxicated.

Knowledge in Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording Cases

Voluntary intoxication and “knew or reasonably should have known.” When the accused is charged with broadcasting or distributing an indecent visual recording, and there is evidence that the accused was intoxicated, the following instruction may be appropriate concerning whether the accused “knew or reasonably should have known” the circumstances under which the recording was made. The evidence has raised the issue of voluntary intoxication to the offense(s) of (state the alleged offense(s)). Concerning (that) (those) offense(s), I advised you earlier that the government is required to prove that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and that the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy. 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(s) 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, if any, 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 in fact 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” that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and the question of whether the accused “reasonably should have known” that the recording was made under circumstances in which (state the name of the alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy, 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.

Final Instructions in Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording Cases

In summary, voluntary intoxication should be considered in determining whether the accused had actual knowledge that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and under circumstances in which (state the name of alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy. Voluntary intoxication should not be considered in determining whether the accused “reasonably should have known” that the recording was made without the consent of (state the name of the alleged victim), and under circumstances in which (state the name of alleged victim) had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Article 120c UCMJ: Broadcasting or Distributing an Indecent Recording

Article 120c of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses the wrongful broadcasting or distributing of indecent recordings. This provision aims to protect the privacy and dignity of individuals within the military community by prohibiting the dissemination of explicit content without consent.

Basics of Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording outlines several critical elements that must be proven for an individual to be found guilty of broadcasting or distributing an indecent recording:

  • Indecent Recording: The material must be classified as indecent. This typically includes visual images or videos that depict sexual acts, nudity, or other explicit content intended to arouse sexual desire.
  • Broadcast or Distribution: The accused must have knowingly broadcasted or distributed the indecent material. This can include sharing the content via electronic means such as email, social media, or other digital platforms, as well as physical distribution.
  • Lack of Consent: The person depicted in the recording did not consent to the broadcast or distribution of the material.
  • Wrongfulness: The act must be carried out wrongfully without legal justification or excuse.

Consequences of Violating Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Violating Article 120c can result in severe penalties, reflecting the seriousness with which the military views such misconduct. Potential consequences include:

  • Confinement: Depending on the severity of the offense and the circumstances, the accused may face a significant period of confinement.
  • Dishonorable Discharge: A conviction under Article 120c can result in a dishonorable discharge, which has far-reaching implications for the accused’s military career and future employment opportunities.
  • Forfeiture of Pay: The convicted individual may lose pay and allowances, adding financial strain to the legal penalties.
  • Sex Offender Registration: In some cases, individuals convicted under Article 120c may be required to register as sex offenders, leading to long-term social and legal repercussions.

The Importance of Legal Representation in Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording Cases

Given the gravity of the charges and the potential consequences, it is crucial for anyone accused under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording to seek immediate legal representation from the best military defense lawyers. Here’s why:

  • Understanding Military Law: The UCMJ and the military justice system have unique procedures and rules that differ significantly from civilian law. Experienced military defense lawyers have the expertise to navigate these complexities effectively.
  • Building a Strong Defense: Skilled lawyers can scrutinize the evidence, identify weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and develop a robust defense strategy tailored to the case’s specifics. This may include challenging the classification of the material as indecent, proving that the distribution was not wrongful, or demonstrating that the accused did not have the necessary intent.
  • Protecting Rights: Protecting the accused’s rights throughout the legal process is paramount. A proficient lawyer can prevent due process violations and advocate for the accused at every stage.
  • Mitigating Penalties: Even if a conviction is unavoidable, experienced defense lawyers can work to mitigate the penalties, aiming for lesser charges or reduced sentences. This can significantly impact the long-term consequences for the accused.

Defense Strategies for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Defense strategies for those accused under Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording may include:

  • Challenging Consent: A crucial defense can be demonstrating that the person depicted in the recording consented to its distribution.
  • Questioning the Classification: Arguing that the material does not meet the legal definition of “indecent” can be a pivotal point in the defense.
  • Proving Lack of Intent: Establishing that the accused did not knowingly or wrongfully broadcast or distribute the material may lead to an acquittal.
  • Highlighting Procedural Errors: Identifying procedural mistakes made during the investigation or trial can result in the dismissal of charges or a more favorable outcome.

Court Martial Lawyers for Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

Article 120c UCMJ Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording protects the privacy and dignity of military personnel by penalizing the wrongful broadcast or distribution of indecent recordings. Given the severe consequences of a conviction, the accused must seek immediate and skilled legal representation from the best military defense lawyers. These lawyers can navigate the complexities of military law, build a strong defense, and protect the rights of the accused, working towards the best possible outcome in their case.

If you are suspected or accused of UCMJ Article 120c Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording, speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your best defense strategy.

Broadcasting or Distribution of an Indecent Recording

“In APY 22-23, the Department received multiple reports involving the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings, highlighting the misuse of technology among cadets and midshipmen.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10
“The incidents of broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings are considered serious violations and are treated with stringent disciplinary measures.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10

Demographics and Trends

“Most victims in investigations involving the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings are female, which is consistent with the general trends observed in other forms of sexual misconduct.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18
“Subjects involved in broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings are predominantly male and aged between 16-24, the primary demographic within the military academies.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18
“Reports of broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings are often underreported, similar to other forms of sexual misconduct, resulting in a significant gap between the actual prevalence and the reported cases.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 13
“Technological advancements and increased social media use have contributed to the rise in cases involving the distribution of indecent recordings.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10

Military Justice Outcomes

“By the end of APY 22-23, several cases involving the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings had progressed to military justice proceedings, underscoring the serious nature of these offenses.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 15
“In APY 22-23, there were multiple instances where subjects involved in broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings received court-martial charges, nonjudicial punishment, or administrative discharges.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 16
“The increase in reports of broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings reflects heightened awareness and reporting mechanisms within the military academies.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 13
“MSAs have implemented stricter policies and educational programs to address and prevent the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10

Key Statistics

“In APY 22-23, there were a notable number of reports involving the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings, reflecting an increase in these types of offenses compared to previous years.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10
“Most victims in cases of broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings are female, which is consistent with the demographics of other sexual misconduct cases.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18
“Subjects involved in broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings are primarily male and aged between 16-24.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 18
“Reports involving the broadcasting or distribution of indecent recordings resulted in various disciplinary actions, including court-martial charges, nonjudicial punishment, and administrative discharges.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 16
“The trend in increased reporting of broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings highlights the effectiveness of new policies and educational initiatives aimed at reducing such incidents.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 10
“The APY 22-23 saw a rise in the number of cases where subjects involved in broadcasting or distributing indecent recordings were held accountable through military justice proceedings.” Statistical Data on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment APY22-23, p. 15

The Impact of Revenge Porn and the Fight Against It by the DOJ

Revenge porn, also known as nonconsensual pornography, is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of individuals without their consent. This malicious act can have devastating effects on victims, including psychological trauma, social stigma, and financial consequences. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has been actively combating revenge porn through legislative measures and enforcement actions. This article explores the impact of revenge porn, the challenges faced by victims, and the DOJ’s efforts to address this serious issue.

The Impact of Revenge Porn

Revenge porn has severe and far-reaching impacts on its victims. The unauthorized sharing of intimate images can lead to profound psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Victims often face social ostracization, loss of employment opportunities, and in some cases, are driven to self-harm or suicide.
“The findings reveal the seriousness of revenge porn, the devastating impacts it has on survivors’ mental health, and similarities between revenge porn and sexual assault.” Bates, 2017
Additionally, revenge porn reinforces harmful social norms and gender biases. Women, in particular, are disproportionately affected, often facing greater societal condemnation compared to their male counterparts.

DOJ’s Efforts Against Revenge Porn

The DOJ has implemented several measures to combat revenge porn, focusing on both legislative reforms and enforcement actions. These efforts aim to provide justice for victims and deter potential offenders.

Legislative Framework

The legislative framework is a crucial component of the DOJ’s strategy against revenge porn. State and federal laws have been enacted to criminalize the distribution of nonconsensual pornography, ensuring that perpetrators face significant legal consequences.
“Clear and effective laws against ‘revenge porn’ are necessary to protect the values of privacy, autonomy, and equality. The unauthorized disclosure of private, sexually explicit images harms not only individuals but society as a whole.” Franks, 2019
Model statutes, such as those proposed by legal scholars, provide a blueprint for crafting effective laws that balance the protection of privacy with First Amendment considerations.

Enforcement Actions

The DOJ has actively prosecuted cases of revenge porn, working to hold perpetrators accountable. These efforts include collaborating with state and local law enforcement agencies to ensure comprehensive investigations and successful prosecutions.
“The criminalization of revenge porn is necessary to protect against devastating privacy invasions that chill self-expression and ruin lives.” Citron & Franks, 2014

Preventive Measures and Public Awareness

Preventive measures are crucial in the fight against revenge porn. Public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives aim to inform individuals about the legal consequences of sharing intimate images without consent and the severe impact on victims.
“Using a qualitative approach, this paper explored the dynamics surrounding revenge porn as a phenomenon thwarting the efforts of women-NGOs in their fight against gender inequality and women exclusion.” Mafa et al., 2020
Additionally, support services for victims, such as counseling and legal assistance, are essential to help them recover and seek justice.

Challenges and Future Directions

Despite significant progress, challenges remain in combating revenge porn. Technological advancements, such as anonymous sharing platforms, complicate efforts to track and prosecute offenders. Furthermore, societal attitudes towards victims often hinder their willingness to report incidents and pursue legal action.
“The CJC Act is a futile legal tool for striking revenge porn at its gendered core, as it fails to address how revenge porn is an inherently social form of online abuse.” Amundsen, 2019
Future efforts should focus on enhancing technological capabilities to detect and remove nonconsensual content, promoting international cooperation to address cross-border incidents, and continuing to challenge and change harmful social norms that blame victims.

Conclusion

Revenge porn is a serious and pervasive issue that requires a multifaceted approach to address effectively. The DOJ’s comprehensive strategy, encompassing legislative reforms, enforcement actions, and preventive measures, is critical in protecting victims and deterring offenders. Continued efforts and adaptations are necessary to combat the evolving nature of this digital crime and to ensure justice and support for all victims.
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