CORE CRIMINAL LAW SUBJECTS: Crimes: Article 134 -- Kidnapping

2017 (October Term)

United States v. Acevedo, 77 M.J. 185 (the elements of the offense of kidnapping are: (1) that the accused seized, confined, inveigled, decoyed, or carried away a certain person; (2) that the accused then held such person against that person’s will; (3) that the accused did so willfully and wrongfully; and (4) that, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces).

(for kidnapping, the term inveigle means to lure, lead astray, or entice by false representations or other deceitful means; as such, a person who entices another to ride in a car with a false promise to take the person to a certain destination has inveigled the passenger into the car). 

(for kidnapping, the term holding against that person’s will means the victim was held involuntarily; the involuntary nature of the detention may result from force, mental or physical coercion, or from other means, including false representations; furthermore, evidence of the availability or nonavailability to the victim of means of exit or escape is relevant to the voluntariness of the detention, as is evidence of threats or force, or lack thereof, by the accused to detain the victim). 

(for kidnapping, the term willfully means that the accused must have specifically intended to hold the victim against his or her will, and an accidental detention will not suffice; the intent can be shown by circumstantial evidence).

(a prosecution for kidnapping under the theory that appellant willfully and wrongfully inveigled the victim and held her against her will was legally sufficient where the victim was inveigled by appellant into entering a taxi under the false representation that she was being taken to base, where appellant’s threat of disciplinary action against the victim, who only recently had entered the service and was significantly lower in rank than appellant, mentally coerced her into staying in the taxi against her will, and where appellant specifically intended to hold the victim against her will through mental coercion by (1) separating the victim from her boyfriend, who was also her ride home, (2) not asking the victim if he could share the taxi with her, (3) giving the taxi driver his home address after he was previously adamant that the victim needed to return to base, (4) pulling the victim close during the taxi ride and holding her hand, and (5) not talking to the victim during the duration of the trip). 

2009 (September Term)

United States v. Contreras, 69 M.J. 120 (kidnapping is not a purely military offense, where the MCM does not limit the application of that offense to military members only, nor would anyone otherwise consider it to be a purely military offense despite the necessity of proving and pleading that the conduct was service discrediting or prejudicial to good order and discipline).   


2008 (September Term)

United States v. Thompson, 67 M.J. 106 (after finding the evidence of kidnapping factually and legally insufficient because the detention was de minimis, the CCA improperly substituted a conviction to reckless endangerment as an offense closely related to the offense of kidnapping, where a comparison of the elements of the two offenses revealed that a conviction for reckless endangerment required proof of elements that were not included in a specification for kidnapping, and reckless endangerment was not an offense necessarily included in the offense of kidnapping).

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