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Article 107 False Official Statements

False official statement is one of the most commonly alleged offenses in the manual for courts-martial. It includes all statement and documents made in the line of duty.

The elements of false official statement under Article 107, UCMJ are:

  • That the accused signed a certain official document or made a certain official statement;
  • That the document or statement was false in certain particulars;
  • That the accused knew it to be false at the time of signing it or making it; and,
  • That the false document or statement was made with the intent to deceive.

A false official statement does not require material gain. Though, material gain can be circumstantial evidence of intent to deceive. Defense counsel will usually contest the suggestion that the accused knew the statement to be false.

Whether a statement is official or not, depends on whether an official government function will be negatively impacted by the false or misleading statement. There should be a clear and direct relationship to official duties.[1] This includes statements to civilian authorities.[2] Intent to deceive means to purposely mislead, to cheat, to trick another, or to cause another to believe as true that which is false.

A misleading statement can include an otherwise true statement that omits information. In Wright, the accused suggested that he noticed computers were missing while moving property for storage. The accused knew the actual location of the computers. His guilty plea was provident.[3] False statements can also be made voluntarily. There is no exculpatory no doctrine in the military.[4]

Standard Instructions

DA Pamphlet 27-9
3-33-1. False Official Statement

Maximum Punishment

The maximum punishment is dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for five years.

Lesser Included Offenses

The lesser-included offenses include only Article 80 – attempts.

References

  • [1] United States v. Teffeau, 58 M.J. 62 (C.A.A.F. 2003)
  • [2] United States v. Day, 66 M.J. 172 (C.A..A.F. 2008)
  • [3] United States v. Wright, 65 M.J. 373 (C.A.A.F. 2007)
  • [4] United States v. Nelson, 53 M.J. 319 (C.A.A.F. 2000)

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