Abandonment of rank

Haven’t seen this come up for a while.

An individual can “abandon his rank and position of authority in dealing with a subordinate by his own misconduct.” United States v. Richardson, 7 M.J. 320 (C.M.A. 1979) (citing United States v. Noriega, 7 C.M.A 196 (C.M.A. 1956)).

The Government argues that the defense of abandonment of rank only applies to offenses against commissioned officers and does not apply to offenses against noncommissioned officers. The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and several Service courts, including this one, have held, at least implicitly, that abandonment of rank is a defense to disrespect or disobedience to a noncommissioned officer. See, e.g., United States v. Diggs, 52 M.J. 251, 256-57 (C.A.A.F. 2000); United States v. Sanders, 41 M.J. 485, 486-87 (C.A.A.F. 1995); United States v. Vallenthine, 2 M.J. 1170 (N.C.M.R. 1975); United States v. Revels, 41 C.M.R. 475 (A.C.M.R. 1969); United States v. McDaniel, 7 M.J. 522, 523 (A.C.M.R. 1979); United States v. Taylor, 30 M.J. 882 (A.F.C.M.R. 1990).

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