Gonzalez & Waddington – Attorneys at Law

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Overview of the inception of court-martial jurisdiction:

1. Enlistment: A Contract Which Changes “Status.” UCMJ, art. 2(b). Art. 2(b) The voluntary enlistment of any person who has the capacity to understand the significance of enlisting in the armed forces shall be valid for purposes of jurisdiction under subsection (a) of this section, and a change of status from civilian to member of the armed forces shall be effective upon the taking of the oath of enlistment.

2. Involuntary enlistment: United States v. Catlow, 23 C.M.A. 142, 48 C.M.R. 758 (1974) (coercion); United States v. Lightfoot, 4 M.J. 262 (C.M.A. 1978); and United States v. Ghiglieri, 25 M.J. 687 (A.C.M.R. 1987) (proposed enlistment as alternative to civil prosecution -no coercion).

3. Constructive Enlistment. The codification of In Re Grimley, 137 U.S. 147 (1890). UCMJ, art. 2(c) (as amended in 1979):

Art. 2(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person serving with an armed force who

(1) Submitted voluntarily to military authority;

(2) Met the mental competence and minimum age qualifications of sections 504 and 505 of this title at the time of voluntary submission to military authority;

(3) Received military pay or allowances; and

(4) Performed military duties; is subject to this chapter until such person’s active service has been terminated in accordance with law or regulations promulgated by the Secretary concerned.”

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