Issue Two of the 2020 Army Lawyer provides a timely analysis of the newly codified Article 84 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Breach of Medical Quarantine.
An estimated 1.3 million active duty service members are subject to some form of COVID-19 restrictions, as a result, it is anticipated that the re-designated Article 84, Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) (Breach of Medical Quarantine), will soon be tested in Courts-Martial, and Article 15 proceedings throughout the force. The Breach of Medical Quarantine was added as component of the General Article 134 in 1949. Most recently, the Military Justice Act of 2016 transitioned the offense from that of the General Article 134 to that of an enumerated Article 84 utilizing the following model specification:
In that the Accused, having been placed in  medical quarantine by a  person authorized to order the accused into medical quarantine, for a  quarantinable communicable disease as defined by C.F.R. § 70.1, to wit: COVID-19,  having knowledge of the quarantine and the limits of the quarantine, did, at or near [location], on or about [Date],  break said medical quarantine.
With scarce case law or clearly defined historical authority behind this article, litigation is anticipated throughout the U.S. Army Trial Judiciary. Litigation is likely to challenge the authority to issue such quarantines whether under separate statutory authority to issue a mass medical quarantine order under emergency health powers granted in DoD Instruction (DoDI) 6200.03, Public Health Emergency Management, or punishable under Article 92, UCMJ by way of those other lawful orders.
The Accused must also have knowledge of the quarantine and its limitations for the Government to secure a successful prosecution, another fruitful ground of defense against a successful prosecution of this new Article.
Contact attorney Matthew G. Jubelt today to learn more.