Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (Full Version)

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Crimguy -> Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (3/31/2010 10:10:49 PM)

I am a criminal defense attorney and had a bizarre experience this morning. I have a client who is in the National Guard and charged with a low-level felony offense (trespassing). He was set for a preliminary hearing this morning and, like many of my clients, came to court in his Class A uni. The prosecutor, who was in the Guard, made a big stink about it not being authorized to wear at court.

I told him "who gives a s**t?" And "I've never heard that court is inappropriate for the uniform." The judge thought he was insane.

What's the allowable dress for a court proceeding? It is a criminal case . . .




flipperwasirish -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (3/31/2010 10:14:04 PM)

You should ask at your National Guard website for the regs that cover your state.




Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (3/31/2010 10:34:29 PM)

The AZGuard website has numerous phone numbers, but frankly I don't find the issue meritorious based on the regs I've read it seems he was comporting with the Army regs.




Sarge -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (3/31/2010 10:57:38 PM)

IIRC your strictly prohibited from exploiting the uniform in civilian court unless the case is related to military matters/on duty.

I think the prosecutor is spot on...........[;)]




edit/ check AR-670-1 to see if its in there............. ?




Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (3/31/2010 11:09:39 PM)

I was going through 670-1 and noticed that section 1-10(j)(4) prohibits wearing the uniform "[w]hen wearing the uniform would bring discredit upon the Army." He'd only discredit the army if he pled guilty without a fight [:D]

Not sure if that's what he was up in arms about. I wouldn't describe wearing the uniform as exploitation, particularly in light of the fact that most full-time soldiers seem to feel the need to wear the uniform when in court, particularly when appearing at trial (whether the accused, a defendant, or a witness).




hermanhum -> Question (3/31/2010 11:15:11 PM)

Wouldn't that be a matter between the soldier and his commanding officer and not a matter for a judge to decide?




Crimguy -> RE: Question (3/31/2010 11:22:21 PM)

Of course. The court only cares that you're fully clothed in court and you haven't pee'd yourself recently. The prosecutor is a kid and doesn't know better. He may have been in the reserves though, and understandably upset if my client was indeed violating the regs.




jomni -> RE: Question (4/1/2010 12:18:30 AM)

That must be his only formal dress. [:D]




GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 3:56:39 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy

What's the allowable dress for a court proceeding? It is a criminal case . . .


http://www.military.com/news/article/testifying-in-uniform-nets-punishment.html

Hi Crim,

I guess it comes down to individual state laws and indiv. NG rules present in a particular NG district. One of the cases covered in the article I linked above indicates that at least one NG member got fined (if I am not mistaken) for wearing the uniform in court, during a burglary hearing, others (who testified -as witnesses- in their uniforms) are going to receive some reprimands, as wearing the uniform violates laws in Pennsylvania, it seems.

"We don't want to have someone wearing the uniform to have influence one way or the other in a court proceeding," National Guard Spokesman Cramsey stated.

The author of the article then adds that "now they [the group who testified] will face discipline from their commanding officer. Maj. Dean Vought, public affairs officer for the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which includes the 110th Regiment, said they likely will receive a reprimand."

Another case:
"Levi Brighton Fisher, 21, then a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, came to the burglary hearing dressed in uniform. He was cited, found guilty and fined $300."

I don't know about AZ laws/AZNG rules, but your client may be pretty lucky, because the attorney did not even know about particular AZ laws there, and it seems the NG did not receive word about this incident either. Tell your client not to do that ever again until YOU have researched whether the NG or state laws allow for wearing the uniform in court.

No offensive Crim, but I have a question: Is a wargamer forum really the right place to ask questions you're supposed to verify by digging in some US law- and court decision-collections and calling the NG? [;)]
Just curious. [:)]




GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 4:24:28 AM)

http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/showthread.php?t=70220

Btw, with my type of google'ing stuff your initial post came up 8th on google. Interesting.

Some funny article about wearing a uniform on halloween:

http://usmilitary.about.com/od/theorderlyroom/a/uniformwear.htm

[:D]




Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 4:27:33 AM)

Not necessarily.  We have a lot of experience members of the armed forces here.  I also find them to be some of the more intelligent of the lot in my 6 or so years trolling these forums.

I advised my client this morning to talk to his CO about what is and isn't allowed.  The prosecutor's opinion is irrelevant to me.  He actually seems to know something I didn't, but nonetheless, wearing the uniform seems to be a common practice here in AZ, even if it's against regs.  I have a feeling it's common practice elsewhere as well.  With all due respect to the Major General in PA, she's right, and that's exactly what we intend to do in court, on both sides:  influence the proceeding.

Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can.  They break policy in court to make sure they have their firearms on, because it influences the jury by adding an amount of authority to their testimony.

If my client was up on homicide charges, the Army's punishment for wearing the uniform would pale in comparison to what he's facing in court, so I'd put him in his Class A's if I thought it helped his appearance to the jury.

This was just a prelim this morning.  He got court dates and pled not guilty :-D




GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 4:33:11 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy

With all due respect to the Major General in PA, she's right, and that's exactly what we intend to do in court, on both sides:† influence the proceeding.


HARHAR, that's what I thought, but I did not dare to say (or insinuate it), heehee. [:)]

quote:

... so I'd put him in his Class A's if I thought it helped his appearance to the jury.


Did you suggest that he should wear the uniform in this case?

quote:

This was just a prelim this morning.† He got court dates and pled not guilty :-D


Well, then hopefully you don't get a different (more beasty) judge then, hehe. [:D]




GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 4:41:30 AM)

I studied laws for 2 semesters only, then I switched to another major, mainly because it appeared to be somewhat boring (criminal law was quite interesting, tho). Another reason might have been the fact that criminal defense att. end up with some shady people once in a while ([;)]) who they have to (or should) defend with all energy, even though they may be guilty.




E -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 5:19:59 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy

Not necessarily.† We have a lot of experience members of the armed forces here.† I also find them to be some of the more intelligent of the lot in my 6 or so years trolling these forums.



How much an hour are you charging your client while you read these forums? Will you be sharing that with those who googled for you? Can I get some if I ask if your client is on active duty while wearing that uniform, and pointing you to Title 10 U.S.C. for information on wear of the military uniform by civilians?

*grin?*




ilovestrategy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 5:26:46 AM)

I have to agree with the judge on thinking the prosecutor was insane.




Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 8:10:48 AM)

This is an indigent client, and I do not bill my criminal clients hourly (if I did I could bankrupt anyone :-D). There are no published opinions in the court on such an issue - the civilian court lacks any jurisdiction on the issue. It is just more to see if the prosecutor knew what he was talking about or not.

quote:

ORIGINAL: E

How much an hour are you charging your client while you read these forums? Will you be sharing that with those who googled for you? Can I get some if I ask if your client is on active duty while wearing that uniform, and pointing you to Title 10 U.S.C. for information on wear of the military uniform by civilians?

*grin?*




GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 10:18:36 AM)

I do have a strong feeling that your intern or whoever should do that job, hehe, but here goes:

quote:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000702----000-.html

ORIGINAL: USC title 18, part 1, chapter 33, ß 702:

ß 702. Uniform of armed forces and Public Health Service

"Whoever, in any place within the jurisdiction of the United States or in the Canal Zone, without authority, wears the uniform or a distinctive part thereof or anything similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of any of the armed forces of the United States, Public Health Service or any auxiliary of such, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both."


Ok, what does "without authority" mean? Not being an active member of the armed forces, veteran etc, I guess. Does that prohibit wearing a uniform off-duty? No.

Next:

quote:

ORIGINAL: USC TITLE 10, Subtitle A, PART II, CHAPTER 45, ß 772

"ß 772. When wearing by persons not on active duty authorized

(a) A member of the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard may wear the uniform prescribed for the Army National Guard or the Air National Guard, as the case may be."


Hmm, pretty vague wording, eh? [:)] It seems there's NO prohibition even for inactive members of the NG, according to that paragraph.
I have not found a paragraph in the USC that would prohibit to "impress" a jury or judge, yet. HEHE.

Next:

quote:

ORIGINAL: Arizona Code - Chapter 1 Military Affairs and Emergency Management

http://law.justia.com/arizona/codes/title26/00170.html

Article 3 National Guard

Revised Statutes ß26-170 : Unauthorized wearing of uniform; rank insignia; violation; classification :

A. No person shall wear any part of the uniform of the national guard or the army, navy or air force of the United States, or a uniform so similar as to be easily mistaken therefor, unless the person is a member of the service whose uniform he wears, an inmate of a veterans' or soldiers' home, or a member of an organization of the United States veterans.

B. A person in the theatrical profession may wear the uniform in a playhouse or theatre while actually engaged in acting the part of a member thereof.

C. A civic organization may parade or travel in a body or assemble in a lodge room, but when the active militia or any part thereof is in active service, or is called into active service, such civic organization or member thereof shall not parade or appear in uniform in the same locality where the active militia is in service.

D. Persons authorized to wear the military uniform of the United States may only display the rank insignia of the highest rank in which they have received federal recognition except the adjutant general who may display the rank insignia of his state appointed grade after written consent of his service branch.

E. A person violating this section is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor."


Clause a) does not explicitly distinguish between active and inactive members of the NG. Interesting. Does an inactive NG serviceman become a "non-member"?[:D]

I'm not a US lawyer (unlike you, COUGH :p), but I'd say it's down to the AZ NG (or down to LOCAL/COUNTY regulations - if there are any) to allow wearing of uniforms outside working hours/duty or - in this case - in court, UNLESS there is some AZ law OR county law that would specifically regulate something along these lines:

quote:

Wearing a military uniform in court is prohibited under Pennsylvania law in certain cases. State law says that military members cannot wear their uniforms "for the purpose of obtaining aid or profit or while soliciting contributions or subscriptions."


Even the National Guard of Arizona's "Active guards/reserve (AGR) handbook for supervisors, AGR soldiers, and dependents" doesn't contain any word about wearing uniforms off-duty:

http://www.azguard.gov/HRO/documents/agr_handbook.pdf

There may just be some internal MEMO at NGAZ regulating the issue, imho.




E -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 5:33:55 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

Ok, what does "without authority" mean?


Not on orders (i.e. not on "active duty").




Jim D Burns -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 7:14:09 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy
Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can. They break policy in court to make sure they have their firearms on, because it influences the jury by adding an amount of authority to their testimony.


Being a retired Police Officer, I call bull**t. I wore civilian attire (suit and tie) and carried a concealed weapon in a shoulder harness no one could possibly see when I testified off duty as did everyone else. We only wore uniforms when on duty or when about to go on duty.

As to why we carry firearms, the courthouse is packed with scumbags and their scumbag friends, all of whom would love to get a shot at an unarmed officer. The one time a defense attorney and judge tried to force one of our uniformed officers to appear without his sidearm, we stood two officers at the door with shotguns outside the courtroom.

Police officers are targets and Iíve arrested hundreds of armed scumbags inside courtrooms in my career. So trying to make an officer disarm for some stupid defense motion is just playing games with OUR lives. Something the defense seems to have no issue at all doing whenever they get the chance.

Jim




Jeffrey H. -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 7:48:16 PM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy
Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can. They break policy in court to make sure they have their firearms on, because it influences the jury by adding an amount of authority to their testimony.


Being a retired Police Officer, I call bull**t. I wore civilian attire (suit and tie) and carried a concealed weapon in a shoulder harness no one could possibly see when I testified off duty as did everyone else. We only wore uniforms when on duty or when about to go on duty.

As to why we carry firearms, the courthouse is packed with scumbags and their scumbag friends, all of whom would love to get a shot at an unarmed officer. The one time a defense attorney and judge tried to force one of our uniformed officers to appear without his sidearm, we stood two officers at the door with shotguns outside the courtroom.

Police officers are targets and Iíve arrested hundreds of armed scumbags inside courtrooms in my career. So trying to make an officer disarm for some stupid defense motion is just playing games with OUR lives. Something the defense seems to have no issue at all doing whenever they get the chance.

Jim




Sounded a little odd to mee too. My dad was a 30 year city police officer, many times he'd be in court, always armed. In fact he felt that it was required of him since even an off duty officer must act if he or she witnesses a crime in progress.

In 30 odd years he only had to fire his pistol 1 time, to kill a rabid feral dog.





GoodGuy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 7:56:06 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: E

quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

Ok, what does "without authority" mean?


Not on orders (i.e. not on "active duty").


Erm, that would mean an Army soldier could face some jail time (6 months), because he fell asleep on the couch wearing the uniform - just to wake up in the middle of the night to figure it's time to get some Lays at Walmart (without changing clothes). [;)]

Seriously, I rather think it means that someone who's running around in a uniform without being in the Armed Forces will get punished. No?




06 Maestro -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/1/2010 8:18:01 PM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

quote:

ORIGINAL: E

quote:

ORIGINAL: GoodGuy

Ok, what does "without authority" mean?


Not on orders (i.e. not on "active duty").


Erm, that would mean an Army soldier could face some jail time (6 months), because he fell asleep on the couch wearing the uniform - just to wake up in the middle of the night to figure it's time to get some Lays at Walmart (without changing clothes). [;)]

Seriously, I rather think it means that someone who's running around in a uniform without being in the Armed Forces will get punished. No?


Yes




Joe D. -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 12:33:35 AM)

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy

... Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can.†


Cops don't stop being cops after they punch-out, but a "weekend warrior" is just that.

Here in CT, Guardsman can't casually wear their Army camo jackets w/their rank and unit insignia.




06 Maestro -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 1:33:52 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Joe D.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy

... Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can.†


Cops don't stop being cops after they punch-out, but a "weekend warrior" is just that.

Here in CT, Guardsman can't casually wear their Army camo jackets w/their rank and unit insignia.


Wearing the uniform in an improper manner is prohibited. If allowed, many would wear their BDU coats and jackets in a casual manner-that is not allowed. If all insignia is removed, then there is not a problem with disrespecting the uniform-civilians do it all the time. :). Years ago there were also stipulations as to where a fatigue or BDU uniform could be worn.

A Class A uniform could be worn (properly) by a reservist regardless whether he was on duty or not. An M day soldier is still a soldier. His pay comes from the Department of Defense and he can be subject to the UCMJ.




Jim D Burns -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 2:28:01 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeffrey H.
Sounded a little odd to mee too. My dad was a 30 year city police officer, many times he'd be in court, always armed. In fact he felt that it was required of him since even an off duty officer must act if he or she witnesses a crime in progress.

In 30 odd years he only had to fire his pistol 1 time, to kill a rabid feral dog.


I too was a city police officer (Oakland), and I canít tell you how many times I ran into wanted turds that had come to the courthouse to either watch or testify in one of their friends hearings. It was pretty common practice to make unexpected arrests when going to testify.

And when it was a gang related hearing with dozens of turds showing up, there was almost always at least one armed individual in the group every time we moved into the crowd of them to grab the wanted individuals we recognized.

Jim




c unit -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 2:33:21 AM)

no, he should not: you're only suppose to wear them to a court martial




Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 2:56:17 AM)

Jim, here in AZ we have a nice big gun locker for the cops and every judge I know save one requires the officers to check their weapon before entering the courtroom. And this is, next to Texas, the gun capital of the U.S.

From a safety standpoint I'm all too happy to have officers armed. Not during a jury trial though for the reasons previously outlined. Additionally, defendants have an electric harness that's remotely activated by the deputy in the courtroom. The deputies have tasers. And after what happened in Georgia a couple years back, firearms are not exactly anyone's guarantee of safety.

On a lighter note, it made headlines here about a year ago when an in-custody defendant was foolishly left alone for a minute in the courtroom while everyone broke for lunch. DOn't know what the deputy was thinking but he stepped out for at least a minute. The guy made it into judge's chambers, put on the judge's suit jacket, and walked out the front door.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns

Being a retired Police Officer, I call bull**t. I wore civilian attire (suit and tie) and carried a concealed weapon in a shoulder harness no one could possibly see when I testified off duty as did everyone else. We only wore uniforms when on duty or when about to go on duty.

As to why we carry firearms, the courthouse is packed with scumbags and their scumbag friends, all of whom would love to get a shot at an unarmed officer. The one time a defense attorney and judge tried to force one of our uniformed officers to appear without his sidearm, we stood two officers at the door with shotguns outside the courtroom.

Police officers are targets and Iíve arrested hundreds of armed scumbags inside courtrooms in my career. So trying to make an officer disarm for some stupid defense motion is just playing games with OUR lives. Something the defense seems to have no issue at all doing whenever they get the chance.

Jim





Crimguy -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 3:01:44 AM)

Jim - I saw I missed your point about off-duty versus on-duty. By and large I agree with you, but not necessarily for lengthy trials with patrol officers as witnesses. I know their schedules and frequently know when they're on or off duty. Are you suggesting that police officers wouldn't dare influence a jury in such a manner?

quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns

quote:

ORIGINAL: Crimguy
Cops, even off duty, wear their uniforms whenever they can. They break policy in court to make sure they have their firearms on, because it influences the jury by adding an amount of authority to their testimony.


Being a retired Police Officer, I call bull**t. I wore civilian attire (suit and tie) and carried a concealed weapon in a shoulder harness no one could possibly see when I testified off duty as did everyone else. We only wore uniforms when on duty or when about to go on duty.

As to why we carry firearms, the courthouse is packed with scumbags and their scumbag friends, all of whom would love to get a shot at an unarmed officer. The one time a defense attorney and judge tried to force one of our uniformed officers to appear without his sidearm, we stood two officers at the door with shotguns outside the courtroom.

Police officers are targets and Iíve arrested hundreds of armed scumbags inside courtrooms in my career. So trying to make an officer disarm for some stupid defense motion is just playing games with OUR lives. Something the defense seems to have no issue at all doing whenever they get the chance.

Jim





Jim D Burns -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 3:36:01 AM)

We donít give a seconds thought to the jury or what may or may not influence them. That realm of game playing we leave to the attorneyís since itís one aspect of the justice system we despise. Believe it or not we hate testifying. Everything was put down in the reports, so getting us on the stand is just an attempt to try and trip us up by the defense or to simply have us repeat what we already put down in writing by the prosecution.

Eye witness testimony is of course a different matter, if I see the offense in progress, then it makes sense I should be called. But testifying that I came to a scene and did x, y and z while collecting evidence and interviewed witnesses 1-4 and took their statements is really a waste of time in my opinion.

Jim

Edit: And the routine notion that the defense always throws out that we want to convict suspects and we are all crooks is just a paranoid fantasy. I arrested over 8,000 people in my career, probably half those were felonies. Just trying to remember the case is hard enough, let alone making stuff up or putting even a seconds thought towards what attire might influence a juryÖ




Jeffrey H. -> RE: Question for US Soldiers re: wearing your Class A (4/2/2010 4:04:20 AM)


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jim D Burns


quote:

ORIGINAL: Jeffrey H.
Sounded a little odd to mee too. My dad was a 30 year city police officer, many times he'd be in court, always armed. In fact he felt that it was required of him since even an off duty officer must act if he or she witnesses a crime in progress.

In 30 odd years he only had to fire his pistol 1 time, to kill a rabid feral dog.


I too was a city police officer (Oakland), and I canít tell you how many times I ran into wanted turds that had come to the courthouse to either watch or testify in one of their friends hearings. It was pretty common practice to make unexpected arrests when going to testify.

And when it was a gang related hearing with dozens of turds showing up, there was almost always at least one armed individual in the group every time we moved into the crowd of them to grab the wanted individuals we recognized.

Jim



Jim that sounds a lot rougher than my dad had it. He was in Ventura, (VPD) his whole career, (badge #9). He retired in 1992 or so, the gang thing in Ventura was more wannabe than real IMHO. Still it was enough to make him want to retire a bit early. He's up in Oregon now, away from cities and people. Anyway, it's good to hear from you.






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