The Army Court of Criminal Appeals has decided United States v. Lanier, No. 20080296 (A. Ct. Crim. App. 4 February 2009). The opinion has some current value, even though this is a guilty plea and adequacy of the providency case.
In this case the appellant was granted EML from duty in Iraq because his father had had a stroke. Appellant failed to return from his EML. He never asked for his EML to be extended or a humanitarian transfer. At trial he plead guilty to desertion with the intent to avoid hazardous service, in violation of Article 85(a)(2), UCMJ.
Here the court discussed the difference between the "intent" to avoid the duty, a specific intent, as opposed to the motive or reasons for avoiding the duty. According to the court the fact appellant stayed away because he wanted to take care of his father was not relevant to intent, but was a motive to stay away and was potential mitigation evidence.
The judge in this case was careful to rule out the potential defense of duress associated with this motive. It also appears clear that the trial judge understood that, unless it constituted a defense, the motive here did not negate the required criminal intent and therefore was not inconsistent with appellant’s plea of guilty. Id.