Military Legal Advice (serious question)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Mansure, Jan 15, 2003.

  1. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Does anybody know the Statute of Limitations on a Federal Warrant for an AWOL soldier?
    No, I'm not running from the Military... I have an honorable discharge from the Army, but unfortunately a buddy of mine left the armed forces the wrong way. [​IMG]
    I'd rather not get into the "right and wrong" of the situation as both he and I know he made a HUGE mistake.
    I would like to know some facts to assist his wife in learning their rights though.
    Local authorities have detained him at a county prison and he was suppose to have been picked up by the Navy yesterday but they never showed.
    His wife has contacted several JAG and civilian attorneys but has not gotten a straight answer yet. I understand in most cases a lawyer cannot answer certain legal questions for ethics reason and such but the guy's wife is at home with 3 kids one of which is their newborn.
    Again, he realizes it was a big mistake and that he deserves some type of punishment but his family is also suffering and needs some assistance.
    So if anybody can point us in the right direction or answer some of these questions please reply or email me at [email protected] .
    I truly appreciate any and all help.
    Brian
     
  2. Cam S

    Cam S Screenwriter

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    I can't give you much advice, but how did he leave the army in a way that made it a criminal offense? I had no idea this sort of thing could happen.
     
  3. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Cam,

    Basically a person that has signed a contract with any of the U.S. Armed Forces to become a soldier and that person then takes leave without permission is considered AWOL (Absent without Leave) or even more severe, can be charged with desertion; both are considered Federal offenses.

    What makes this situation even more bizarre is that he walked off a Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia over 2 years ago. They haven't come for him till just last week.
    He hasn't changed his name or eluded authorities by any means so this all seems kinda strange to me.

    Brian
     
  4. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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    If I am not mistaken there is not a statute of limitations on a soldier going AWOL. How long ago was it?


     
  5. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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    He could be in very big trouble:

     
  6. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Kyle,

    I don't know for sure but the local police, whom picked him up and are currently "holding" him, said that there is a limitation to how long they can legally keep him without State or local charges filed. I'm assuming then there has to be some statute of limitations for this if the Navy never sends someone to pick him up.

    Brian
     
  7. Dheiner

    Dheiner Gazoo

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  8. Danny R

    Danny R Supporting Actor

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    Desertion doesn't have a statute of limitations. Just because the Navy doesn't bother to prosecute doesn't mean your friend is free of the offense. They can take it up at any time.
     
  9. CharlesD

    CharlesD Screenwriter

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  10. Todd Hochard

    Todd Hochard Cinematographer

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    From the UCMJ, Article 803-
     
  11. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    Given my altogether terrible understanding of civilian law, I would say that he would likely be released from the local authorities, but the Navy would still be more than capable of pursuing him.

    I think the reason that the military hasn't made an issue of it is that they rarely (based on some annecdotes I've heard) pursue peacetime deserters. They wait for them to get into legal trouble and then send soldiers to collect them for a courts martial. Because of that, having your friend go so long before capture makes some sense. Do you know if the local authorities arrested him for some other reason and then discovered his military infraction?
     
  12. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    Thanks for the replies.

    For the record, he's not expecting to "get off the hook" by a technicality, rather he would like to get his affairs in order with his roofing business and family before "going away" for days, weeks, months.
    His wife can handle the books but he needs to make sure the jobs can be worked and money is still being made to support the business and his family.

    Brian
     
  13. KyleS

    KyleS Screenwriter

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  14. ian_graven

    ian_graven Extra

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    Yes they do infact give criminals time to straighten things before beging there sentences. Considering they are not deemd as a flight risk and have a reasonable excuse. Happens quite often.

    Don't know how if bail preceeding exist in military court, but if they do, he can easily put off his jail time for quite a while. Sometimes up to a couple years if he has a slick lawyer.
     
  15. Brian Mansure

    Brian Mansure Second Unit

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    He is currently still in a local prison awaiting transportation to Virginia to be court marshaled.

    He doesn't need/want weeks, months, years to situate family and business, he's looking to use the time he is now "in limbo" awaiting to be transported by Navy personnel. Basically he is being held by the local authorities for a federal warrant but there are no local authorities charging him with anything. So unless the Navy comes a gets him by a certain amount of days he should be released until the Navy can escort him back to Virginia.
    That's what his lawyer said and that's also what's in the UCMJ.
     
  16. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    I'm really intrigued by the circumstances by which he was detained by the local authorities. Did the police show up on his door to serve the warrant or was he stopped by some other activity (such as speeding) where they inquired and found his outstanding warrant?

    If I'm prying to far, feel free to tell me to stop. Its just rare to find a situtaion like this.
     
  17. Bill Cowmeadow

    Bill Cowmeadow Second Unit

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    The military no longer pursues members who go AWOL except for a cursory phone call or two to relatives and known close friends. Instead, they just file a warrant for the person and wait until he or she is picked up for something else by other authorities, as was the case of your friend. And the military is a patient bunch, they can wait a long time. They will however, investigate and relentlessly track down members who commit serious crimes prior to going AWOL.
     
  18. Alex Spindler

    Alex Spindler Producer

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    This has some parallels with a recent ER episode where a character's relative goes AWOL and the miliary comes after she asks to get his medical records.
     
  19. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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  20. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    I feel so sorry for his family. Did his wife know he was AWOL ? Talk about living your life always looking over your shoulder.
     

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