Insubordinate Conduct Toward Warrant Officer, Noncommissioned Officer, or Petty Officer

2008 (September Term)


United States v. Ranney, 67 M.J. 297 (Article 91, UCMJ, like Article 90, UCMJ, makes punishable disobedience only of lawful commands). 


(an order is presumed to be lawful, and the accused bears the burden of rebutting the presumption; nevertheless, an order purporting to regulate personal affairs is not lawful unless it has a military purpose).


(an order requiring appellant to cease his unprofessional relationship with a female Marine in the same multi-service detachment had a legally sufficient nexus to the military duty of maintaining the discipline and morale of the detachment to be presumptively lawful; the NCO who issued the order testified that he believed that the relationship would compromise the ability of the detachment’s NCOs to enforce various restrictions placed on junior Marine enlisted members and that although the relationship had not yet caused any specific problems within the unit, he believed it had the potential to become a problem over time; in the absence of any evidence that the order was in fact issued for a private end, and with a sufficient nexus between the mandate and a stated military duty – good order and discipline - extant in the record, the presumption that the order was lawful remained intact).

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