CORE CRIMINAL LAW SUBJECTS: Crimes: Article 134 - Indecent Exposure
(Pre-2007 Amendment -- Offenses charged under the law in effect before 1 Oct 2007)

2009 (September Term)

United States v. Ferguson, 68 M.J. 431 (in this case, appellant pled guilty to indecent exposure, and he admitted that his acts of masturbating himself before a webcam in his room while transmitting the live images to an undercover police officer he thought was a 14-year-old boy were performed intentionally, purposefully, and in public view - in a manner that could be observed by members of the public, the undercover officer, and others; by doing so, he relinquished his right to contest the prosecution’s theory on appeal that he ejaculated in public view, unless the record disclosed matter inconsistent with the plea, and it did not disclose any such inconsistent matter; under the circumstances, the military judge was not required to further investigate appellant’s concession that his conduct was undertaken in public view, and the military judge did not abuse his discretion in accepting appellant’s guilty plea; there was no substantial basis in law or fact to question appellant’s plea to indecent exposure).


United States v. Graham, 56 MJ 266 (in order for an indecent exposure conviction to be legally sufficient, the evidence must show the exposure was, among other things, "willful," "indecent," and in "public view." - exposing oneself while in one’s own house can constitute the offense of indecent exposure, as long as it is willful).

(there are two distinct types of indecent exposure: (1) exposure in a public place, the very fact of which tends to prove it was willful, and (2) exposure that does not occur in a public place but which, instead, occurs in a nonpublic place such as one’s privately-owned home; the mere fact of this second type of exposure does not prove it was willful, but it may still constitute the offense of indecent exposure if other evidence proves that it was).

(appellant exposed himself in the bedroom of his home – clearly a nonpublic place; but he did so willfully by inviting his babysitter into the bedroom and then allowing his towel to drop in front of her; in this way, he made certain that an unsuspecting and uninterested member of the general population had no choice but to see him naked; that is indecent exposure).

(the focus of indecent exposure is on the victim, not on the location of the crime - the offense is committed regardless of whether it takes place in the bedroom or on the street; the purpose of criminalizing public indecency is to protect the public from shocking and embarrassing displays of sexual activities; a person need not be in a public place to be a member of the public).

("public place" means a location that is public; and, consistent with a focus on the victims and not the location of public indecency crimes, "public view" means "in the view of the public," and in that context, "public" is a noun referring to any member of the public who views the indecent exposure).


United States v. Griggs, 51 MJ 418 (evidence of indecent exposure was legally sufficient where victims testified that appellant positioned his body in each instance with his pants unzipped and wearing no underwear, so that his genital area was clearly exposed).

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