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Go Back   ECCIE Worldwide > General Interest > A Question of Legality
A Question of Legality Post your legal questions here (general, nothing of a personal nature)

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Old 06-26-2018, 02:21 PM   #1
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Default Would this defense actually work

I heard an urban legend where 2 army nurses in Desert Storm were providing. When they got caught they claimed that they were selling condoms for $100 each. The story goes since they were selling a condom, not the act of using it, they were charged with adultery under the UCMJ, but the prostitution related charges didn't stick.

Should be fun to discuss.
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Old 06-26-2018, 02:34 PM   #2
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Calling no joy; unless you can supply confirming details, your "I heard" is total slander of an honorable institution.
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Old 06-27-2018, 04:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Mr Lickher Right View Post
I heard an urban legend where 2 army nurses in Desert Storm were providing. When they got caught they claimed that they were selling condoms for $100 each. The story goes since they were selling a condom, not the act of using it, they were charged with adultery under the UCMJ, but the prostitution related charges didn't stick.

Should be fun to discuss.
Well, by virtue of the fact that this by your own description an "urban legend" we can dismiss it as factually unlikely absent some sort of confirmation. But strictly hypothetically...

1) If they were allegedly "providing", there's evidence of behavior (or at least the intent to behave) beyond merely selling condoms for way over their fair market value. (Especially if adultery charges were preferred; that's going to require proof of some sort of sexual activity actually happening, as well as proof that at least one of the parties to the offense was married at the time the offense took place.) So basically, the "I was only selling condoms" defense wouldn't fly at a court martial any more than it would fly in a civilian court. Most likely, this urban legend (like many ULs) originated in a garbled version of an old joke, namely this one:

2) Back when I was a Navy JAG, I served at the US Naval Legal Service Office, Subic Bay, Philippines, and our office had a branch office at the Naval Support Facility, Diego Garcia ("detachment", NLSODET DGAR BIOT). At the time (and maybe still to this day), the Support Facility had a male-female personnel ratio (including civilian contractors) of several hundred men for every woman. One very junior female enlisted sailor decided to take advantage of that gender imbalance by charging for her "companionship", got caught, and went to a court martial, so I have a little familiarity with what charges would be preferred in that situation. Adultery and (and very possibly fornication) is considered a violation of "the General Article" (UCMJ Art. 134) proscribing "all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty", which means that our enlisted provider got charged with multiple specifications of violations of Art. 134 (adultery and prostitution, depending on whether any of her customers were identified so that their marital status could be determined).

Nurses in the three services which have separate medical organizations (Army, Navy, Air Force) are all commissioned officers, so nurses acting as providers would also be charged separately with violations of UCMJ Art. 133, proscribing "conduct unbecoming and officer and a gentleman". I suspect they'd each be charged with multiple specifications covering fornication, adultery (were any clients identified and their marital statuses determined), and prostitution.

IIRC, our enlisted provider wound up pleading guilty at a special court martial to several charges/specifications of violations of the general article alleging prostitution in return for a plea agreement limiting her punishment to a bad conduct discharge and a couple months in the brig. Our hypothetical nurses, if convicted at a general court martial (IIRC, officers can't get tried at a special court martial), would probably receive a similar sentence to confinement (mere prostitution is a civilian misdemeanor, and adultery, if an offense at all, isn't seriously prosecuted in civilian jurisdictions) and to be dismissed from the service. (Dismissal for an officer is the equivalent to a dishonorable discharge for an enlisted member, and is the only punitive discharge officers can receive.)


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Old 06-27-2018, 06:26 AM   #4
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^^^ super interesting. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I have a ton of JAG friends and they have some of the most interesting stories.

Thanks for your service.
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:16 AM   #5
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BCG thanks for your service first and foremost. I am an old army MP and I heard the "story" from a guy who was stationed with the arresting officer. I felt it was like the "fish that got away", but if it was true just one more way to clog up the system.

But I was kind of after the legal aspect of it and you surely let your fingers do the walking LOL.

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 09-28-2018, 09:18 AM   #6
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Leave it to those crafty Army Nurses!
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Old 10-03-2018, 12:01 AM   #7
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I've heard similar stories. All i found bollocks..

Though i DO remember reading a bust of a sex ring in base housing on Anderson AFB in Guam, just before i got stationed there.. Several of the wives were running it out of one of their houses..
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Old 10-03-2018, 05:41 AM   #8
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Hey, bcg -
It's "charges proffered", not "charges preferred".
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Old 10-03-2018, 06:40 AM   #9
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Anything is possible, when I was in Nam, a guy from the motor pool brought a couple of ladies back on base and they set up shop, Those girls were VERY busy that night, they did not provide the rubbers, the guys who had their own were SAFE those that didn't use then went to sickbay in about 7 days!! I had one!!
Semper Fi
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Old 11-21-2018, 02:48 PM   #10
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Selling a condom as a defense would not work in civilian courts. Sigh.

I wish.

Thank you all for your service as well as the interesting info. I learned my new thing for the day.
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Old 12-03-2018, 08:55 AM   #11
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My defense, trump does it
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