UCMJ Article 31
Two Important Parts to UCMJ Article 31
1. No one subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice may compel any person to incriminate himself or to answer any question the answer that may tend to incriminate him. They have Article 31 rights.
2. No person subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice may interrogate, or request any statement from a person suspected of an offense without first informing him of the nature of the accusation, that he does not have to made a statement regarding the offense, and that any statement may be used against him as evidence in a trial by court-martial.
Understanding these rights is critical because investigators will attempt to convince suspects to waive their rights. Military law enforcement agents are trained to use psychological interrogation methods against service members who are under investigation. Agents are also trained to lie to service members during the interrogation process. Combined with a tendency to rush to judgment, these interrogation methods produce unreliable results and obscure the truth. Don’t be fooled. It’s not in your interest to give a statement to military law enforcement.
UCMJ Article 31 is derived from the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
UCMJ Article 31 is listed as follows:
10 U.S. Code § 831 – Art. 31. Compulsory self-incrimination prohibited.
(a) No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to incriminate himself or to answer any question the answer to which may tend to incriminate him.
(b) No person subject to this chapter may interrogate, or request any statement from, an accused or a person suspected of an offense without first informing him of the nature of the accusation and advising him that he does not have to make any statement regarding the offense of which he is accused or suspected and that any statement made by him may be used as evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.
© No person subject to this chapter may compel any person to make a statement or produce evidence before any military tribunal if the statement or evidence is not material to the issue and may tend to degrade him.
(d) No statement obtained from any person in violation of this article, or through the use of coercion, unlawful influence, or unlawful inducement may be received in evidence against him in a trial by court-martial.
Aug. 10, 1956, ch. 1041, 70A Stat. 48.)