FIRST PRINCIPLES: Jurisdiction: Subject Matter         

2011 (September Term)

United States v. Ali, 71 M.J. 256 (general courts-martial have jurisdiction to try persons subject to the UCMJ for any offense made punishable by it; additionally, the UCMJ applies in all places; where appellant, a foreign national working as a civilian contractor in Iraq and serving with the Army in the field during a contingency operation, was charged with and convicted of misconduct punishable by the UCMJ, the court-martial had jurisdiction over the offenses). 

(the status of the individual is the focus for determining both jurisdiction over the offense and jurisdiction over the person; the only difference is that jurisdiction over the person depends on the person’s status as a person subject to the Code both at the time of the offense and at the time of trial). 

United States v. Humphries, 71 M.J. 209 (in the absence of subject-matter jurisdiction, a charge must be dismissed).


United States v. Alexander, 61 MJ 266 (questions of jurisdiction are not subject to waiver; jurisdiction over the person, as well as jurisdiction over the subject matter, may not be the subject of waiver; a jurisdictional defect goes to the underlying authority of a court to hear a case; thus, a jurisdictional error impacts the validity of the entire trial and mandates reversal).


United States v. Gray, 51 MJ 1 (assuming that there is a requirement for subject matter jurisdiction or service connection in a capital case, then capital appellant’s crimes were service connected where:  (1) one murder victim was a military member; (2) one murder victim was a civilian who did business on post; (3) both bodies were found on post; and, (4) overwhelming evidence indicated that the murders were committed on post).

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