Apparent Unlawful Command Influence: An Unworkable Test for an Untenable Doctrine

US Court of Military Appeals

Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) prohibits unlawful command influence (UCI) in military prosecutions. The prohibition of UCI, Vincent A. Marrazzo argues, is a critical component of the military justice system, ensuring both fairness and public confidence in the military prosecution process.

Marrazzo contends, however, that the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) has expanded UCI doctrine far beyond the textual confines of Article 37. In particular, the development of “apparent UCI”—which allows CAAF to set aside a finding or sentence for the mere appearance of UCI even if the apparent UCI did not materially prejudices the substantial rights of the accused—directly contravenes the Article 37’s requirement that such prejudice must exist in order to set aside a finding or sentence of a court-martial and also Article 37’s requirement that UCI must be intentional.

Although the doctrine of apparent UCI serves laudable goals, it is also in direct conflict with the text of the UCMJ. Ultimately, Marrazzo, concludes, a doctrine of apparent UCI may be desirable, but it is up to Congress, not the courts, to revise the UCMJ.

By Vincent A. Marrazzo

Juris Doctor, Notre Dame Law School, 2022; Bachelor of Arts in Intelligence Studies, Information Technology, and Religion, Diplomacy, and International Relations, Mercyhurst University, 2019.

1 comment

  1. Unlawful command influence by the United States Air Force has impeded Senior Airman Sanchez, Jody M. “Due Process Protected Property Rights”.
    The “Veterans Administration Award of 10 service-connected entitlements after twelve years of Honorable service have been violated.
    A.F.B.C.M.R., Docket BC–1993–01795 from the Air Force Discharge Board contain none of the “10 Entitlements” awarded to the Plaintiff by the Board of Veterans Appeals Docket No. 14-21 127. All these entitlements apply to two new C.F.R.’s (Code of Federal Regulations) Legislated by Congress:
    *38 C.F.R. § 4.130 (2014) 9304. Major or mild neurocognitive disorder due to traumatic brain injury / T.B.I.)
    *38 CFR § 4.124a, Schedule for rating disabilities, the table, evaluation of cognitive impairment, and other residuals of TBI not otherwise classified.
    In addition, this Institutionalized Discrimination perpetuated by the United States Air Force has denied the plaintiff “statutory & contractual obligations involving Medical Negligence, Malfeasance, & Discrimination. I want all administrative actions rescinded, former rank reinstated, promotion to technical sergeant / E-6 awarded & a medical discharge implemented.

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