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fedorable1
08-27-2005, 10:01 AM
I'm just curious about something. There's a scene in my current WIP in which a U.S. Private First Class comes into an arguement with a prison guard at a military penitentiary over the abuse of one of the prisoners.

The first question is, does the military automatically supercede the prison guards, or would the guards - since it is their prison - hold more "power" than the PFC? By "power", I mean in determining when and where prisoners get moved, their protection (or lack there of) etc.

Second question: The prisoner in question is the adopted daughter of a deceased Army Major, though she happens to be a member of a very hated and feared race. The prisoners decide to have some "fun" by luring her into a room and taunting her, ripping clothes, etc. Think of the scene in West Side Story in which Anita is assaulted at the parlor by the Americans. Anyway, my question is what sort of punishment would these guards face when they are discovered by the military? Bare in mind that under normal circumstances, assaulting someone of that race would probably be overlooked, especially in prison. However, her connection to a military official would probably change the situation a bit.

The WIP is Sci-Fi, but it should still operate under the same rules as the current military system.

preyer
08-27-2005, 11:47 AM
so you're saying the latinos in 'west side story' weren't americans? j/k.

well, it's your story. we're not talking about real life here. thus, you have 'civilian' prison guards in a military prison. ??? generally, i believe it's probable for the cops to hand over military personel to the military in all but the most severe cases. where a private is apprehended by the regular cops while killing someone, i'm not sure who keeps him. even then, i imagine the private is handed over to the military for trial and punishment. good question, that, but i don't really know. when you're in the military, you don't have the same rights as you do when you're a private citizen, and part of those rights is the 'civilian' court system. so i reckon you'd be bumped back into the custody of the MPs.

roughing up a special prisoner isn't going to go unpunished 'even' in the military prison. so, the identity of the prisoner would have to something they don't know about. deceased or not, that major will have other officer friends who would see those guards get what they had coming. taunting is a lot different than terrifying physically. the adoptive mother will get things done.

a general or admiral can't walk into a military prison and say, 'release that person,' and the guard has to obey any more than can the state attorney general walk into a state run prison and say the same thing. so, that PFC will have no ability to get beyond the visitor's centre, just like any of us. a PFC can't order anyone around. theoretically, a regular beat cop could arrest the president of the united states (hm, now if *that* ain't a great idea for a story...), so, in cases like that, rank has nothing to do with it. a colonel can't order the MP to remove the cuffs from his hands. so, in interest of obstensibly keeping order, no MP has to obey anyone under his own rank. i'm not even sure if the military police are under the same rules as regular military, they may be a special division. in other words, if a regular lieutenant orders an MP to pick up a scrap of paper, i'm not sure that MP has to obey the order or not even if the MP is a lower rank. i'm not sure if the same ranking system applies, so that may be something else you want to check out. for instance, are all MPs automatically the equivalent to a sergeant?

those guards would be punished appropriately if someone found out about their shenanigans. it could range anywhere from a slap on the wrist and suspension without pay to charges being filed and potential prison time. i'd guess the most likely scenario, since the climate is such that it is condusive to that behaviour, they'd get suspended and made to go into a bit of therapy, maybe even being re-assigned and/or a demotion, which is pretty serious. it would be a serious matter, though, i'm sure of that. there're accountability issues even in a closed-to-the-public system like that.

then again, if it works for the story, do it anyway. i watched 'murder at the presidio' awhile back. maybe that could give you some insight since it was based on a true story (it was a cable movie you can now get on DVD). there's also that movie with robert redford who's imprisoned in a military prison. that stuff may help. do a search on 'judge advocates' and see if anything pops up. i don't remember what they were called in the movie off hand, but in the 'presidio' movie he was part of the army's criminal investigations division, basically an army detective. it also may give you some ideas.

of course, roughing up prisoners does happen. it's easy to say the prisoner was being unruly or attacked the guard. that stuff happens. there *are* abuses, no doubt about that. i'd probably want to make it clear at some point that it's common for it to happen. i doubt the psychological profile of the accostors would be that she was their first abuse victim. too, there's a slight difference between something being overlooked and someone 'looking the other way,' i think. subtle, true, maybe something to ponder for a minute?

DaveKuzminski
08-27-2005, 07:43 PM
If you commit a crime in the civilian sector and are arrested by the civilian police, then usually you're theirs to deal with even if you're a member of the military. Once they learn of your connection to the military, they'll generally report to the military that they have you in custody. There are some exceptions where you will be turned over to the military, but those frequently have to do with special circumstances, location, local agreements, or treaties.

If you commit a crime within military jurisdiction, you could still be tried by civil authorities depending upon what the crime was. Again, this can be affected by special circumstances and agreements.

Incarceration while awaiting trial can also vary. If the crime is serious enough, the authorites may choose who will hold you based upon who has the best facility for dealing with the nature of the crime involved. They obviously won't place you in the local jail with no more security than the jail in Mayberry RFD (the TV show) if you're accused of mass murder but it might very well suffice if all you're accused of is speeding or drunk and disorderly. And as we all know from a current case involving a gang member believed involved with a certain plot to build and detonate a dirty bomb, you can be held by the military for the civil authorities even if you're a civilian who was apprehended by civilian authorities. To me, this speaks much about the knowledge of the authorities. They know exactly where to place someone in custody if they don't want him speaking to anyone outside.

So, in conclusion, it depends.

As to who can give an order to whom, again, it depends. Under some circumstances, a higher up cannot be obeyed if that would require violating one's general orders. It's the same with ordinary soldiers given guard duty as it would be for MPs. Guards are expected to report only to their immediate supervisors. Otherwise, anyone could dress up like a superior, instruct a guard to do something elsewhere, and then gain access to what the guard was protecting. So, all those movies and TV programs that show guards being ordered away from their posts to chase after someone are totally unrealistic. Of course, most MPs would have more latitude within their orders unless they were given something specific to do.

fedorable1
08-28-2005, 03:15 AM
Thanks for your help.

To clarify a few things:

* The prisoner is a civilian caught on a battlefield following a gunfight. She was allowed to fight only because the city was ambushed and they needed her help. After the fight it was discovered that she was actually a member of the bioengineered race that the humans were fighting against. Thus, she was imprisoned just for questioning.

* The PFC in question was the one who brought her in, and who knows her more than anyone. The assault occurs while he is away, and when he returns to find some of the guards in the midst of the assault (due to an informant) he basically chews them out.

* The PFC, out of anger and being spit at by the "ring leader", also hauls off and decks the guard. His Lieutenant superior, who assists in breaking up the assault, yells at the PFC but doesn't take any disciplinary action against him. The guards, however, are "detained" so to speak.

* The guards were NOT aware of the girl's military relationship, or even her name, only of her race and unregistered civilian status.

It's these things that I'm curious about in terms of believability and realism. Just wondering if they would happen, and if so what repercussions would there be.

preyer
08-28-2005, 08:14 AM
best to listen to DK here, sounds like he knows more about what he's talking about. hopefully it was clear i was just making suppositions. :)

the only flaw in logic i see is when the PFC brings the prisoner in, he's not released back to duty. here, he's invited inside and left to roam around, what, bringing coffee back to the interrogation chamber and catches them in the act? after bringing her in, he may have a report to fill out detailing what happened (sounds logical to me), but otherwise that's as far as they're going to allow him to be involved unless circumstances warrant his participation. were i reading it, i wouldn't necessarily have any issues with what you've described and the way my imagination fills in the outline, just where the PFC is still around, that's a problem for me. concoct a plausible reason for him to hang around and i'd buy into it.

otherwise, it's kinda like a messenger delivering an important piece of mail. no one is going to let the messenger stick around long enough to know what's in the letter, right? none of his damn business. you did your job, now go away. same thing here: there's simply no reason for the PFC to still be there. the guards aren't just going to invite a perfect stranger in on their illegal activity for no reason, which you insinuate they do simply by not running him off. too, they're not going to send the PFC away for donuts, leaving the prisoner in condition A, then pretend nothing happened when the PFC returns with a dozen creme-filled krispy cremes to find the prisoner in condition B, eh? the PFC simply does not have the authority to see that the prisoner is handled any particular way after he drops her off at the front gate.

it shouldn't be that hard of a fix. :)

LloydBrown
08-28-2005, 07:25 PM
* The PFC in question was the one who brought her in, and who knows her more than anyone. The assault occurs while he is away, and when he returns to find some of the guards in the midst of the assault (due to an informant) he basically chews them out.

Wouldn't she be considered a POW, then, and go to a military installation set up for such contingencies? I don't see why she's in a civilian prison at all.

fedorable1
08-29-2005, 12:08 AM
Right, she is a POW. I'm not sure how military-affiliated prisons work, hence the questions. I am not sure if a "military prison" would have Army/Marine officers as guards or if they were their own entity - i.e. MP's, etc.

Also, the PFC that brought her in did indeed go back out. It was two days later that he was called back to assist in questioning her, as he was the only one who even knows who she is, and has spoken with her before. (She was also unconscious most of that time.)

Sorry I forgot to clarify that.

Rabe
09-03-2005, 10:59 AM
Thanks for your help.

To clarify a few things:
* The prisoner is a civilian caught on a battlefield following a gunfight. She was allowed to fight only because the city was ambushed and they needed her help. After the fight it was discovered that she was actually a member of the bioengineered race that the humans were fighting against. Thus, she was imprisoned just for questioning.

* The PFC in question was the one who brought her in, and who knows her more than anyone. The assault occurs while he is away, and when he returns to find some of the guards in the midst of the assault (due to an informant) he basically chews them out.

* The PFC, out of anger and being spit at by the "ring leader", also hauls off and decks the guard. His Lieutenant superior, who assists in breaking up the assault, yells at the PFC but doesn't take any disciplinary action against him. The guards, however, are "detained" so to speak.

* The guards were NOT aware of the girl's military relationship, or even her name, only of her race and unregistered civilian status.
It's these things that I'm curious about in terms of believability and realism. Just wondering if they would happen, and if so what repercussions would there be.

Let me see what I can do to help with this.

A military prison run by civilian guards? Sounds a bit too much like either a private prison or a civilian prison. Either way, a PFC would most likely not have the power to order around the guards in general as they should be of equivalent or higher rank. Now, if it's a civilian or private prison I can answer that for darn sure.

The PFC has no power to order them around at all. It would be like if one of the local recruiters in town came to my jail and tried to order me about. No authority there whatsoever. Military prison could be different however. But I doubt very highly the PFC would have the authority.

So point one above:
Sounds more like she'd be held as a POW or as an 'enemy combatant' and wouldn't go to a civilian facility but rather a military one with military guards.

Point two above:
My question to that is why are the guards meekly listening to a 'chewing out' by a PFC? If they're willing to brutalize others based on their bioengineered status, I highly doubt they'd be cowed by a lowly private.

Point three above:
"Detained" as in how? They are held and charged with oppression under the color of office?

Point four above:
irrelevent for the original question asked. But I, again, would tend to think it wouldn't matter. Only if they were aware of her special status would it matter in how they treated her. But if they're the type of goons that would rough up a person based on their (insert whatever word is appropriate here) then they're going to rough her up unless they are aware of a reson to desist such activity.

Rabe...

Rabe
09-03-2005, 11:05 AM
generally, i believe it's probable for the cops to hand over military personel to the military in all but the most severe cases. where a private is apprehended by the regular cops while killing someone, i'm not sure who keeps him. even then, i imagine the private is handed over to the military for trial and punishment.

The answer to this depends on jurisdictional boundaries. Such as where the crime was committed. In my experience, the only time we've handed over a military guy to the military without going through the civilian court system was when the charge was AWOL which has jurisdictional boundaries with the military always. Even in such cases, if they had other crimes in connection with that, the military would have to wait until they were 'clear' of the civilian charges.

For example, if a deserter had stolen a vehicle and was arrested on the highway, he would have to go through the civilian court system (jurisdiction here would go to the agency arresting the individual) to resolve the matter of the stolen vehicle, but then he would be clear for the military to pick him up on the AWOL charges. If the person were merely driving along and got pulled over for speeding and was then discovered to be a deserter, the jurisdiction would then go to the military and they would retrieve him from the civilian jail (unless, of course, there are 'local' charges).

Now, if the crime used in your example of murder were committed on a military base - it most likely would be military jurisdiction. However, if the theoretical private were off the base and got involved in bar fight where he killed a guy, it becomes civilian jurisdiction and the military would have to go through the court system to get him. Which most likely wouldn't happen until after securing a conviction.

Rabe...