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Vince524
06-29-2015, 04:42 AM
I'm working on a MS right now. The main character came from a very abusive home. His mother died when he was young, he had 2 sisters. When he was about 16/17 he was arrested for the murder of his GF. He didn't do it and the evidence was circumstantial. But he came from a small town, his abusive father was a cop who had no issue with him being framed and there was reason to frame him, so he sat in there for a little over a year, give or take.

When he was out, his father threatened his life and the lives of his sisters if he came back to town. So I want to have him join the military. Now I've read you can start as early as 17. His father, wanting him gone, would have signed any paper work. I can make him have finished high school in prison. He was never tried, so not convicted. I want him to have served in Iraq at one point.

How long would he have to serve before he left military service? I assume his age, being in prison awaiting trial that never happened wouldn't be an issue. Anything else I need to know to build into the character and his background?

Thanks in advance.

Williebee
06-29-2015, 04:53 AM
Four years, if he discharged at the end of a standard contract. IF he never took any leave (vacation) he could roll out several months before that four year mark.

Tinman
06-29-2015, 05:10 AM
I think the minimum "active duty" is 2 years, though it might depend on which branch (or country). My son, who served in Iraq in 2004, served 3 years in the US Army.

Vince524
06-29-2015, 05:27 AM
He wouldn't probably take leave as he had nobody to go visit. But 3 years would work. Maybe even 4.

He comes out and works for the grandfather of a buddy of his who had gotten killed, but the buddy spoke highly and the grandfather, ex military met and liked him. I'd want him to be around 24ish when the story takes place. So even 4 years in the armed forces, 4 years after, where he could technically be on reserve.

Would all of this work for the Marines?

badwolf.usmc
06-29-2015, 05:52 AM
For the Marines, while he would be in the IRR, there isn't much that he is required to do. There is a yearly mustering, to update his info, that takes less than half a day.

mrsmig
06-29-2015, 06:27 AM
I dunno - even if your MC wasn't convicted of murder, the fact that he was arrested and held on a felony charge might prevent him from being able to join any branch of the Armed Services. The military can afford to be picky right now; recruitment goals are being met easily, and while waivers are issued for those with more minor offenses on their record, I'm not sure an arrest for such a serious crime would be dismissed so lightly. You may want to do some more research on the topic.

WeaselFire
06-29-2015, 06:28 AM
Two additional points. An arrest record might be an issue if he were charged, especially as an adult. Keep that in mind if you need it for background. Also, if you need him out earlier than the four years, you could have him injured or otherwise granted an early discharge. This assumes current day military, twenty years ago might change things.

Jeff

Drachen Jager
06-29-2015, 08:03 AM
They don't usually take convicted murderers.

Some criminal record they'll overlook, but murder would require extenuating circumstances for him to be admitted in almost every civilized country. The military is VERY stressful and soldiers are often in possession of an array of deadly weapons beyond the scope of an ordinary civilian. You don't simply hand a convicted murderer an M-16 and say, "Well, you served your time, so that's in the past, right?"

Williebee
06-29-2015, 08:21 AM
I dunno - even if your MC wasn't convicted of murder, the fact that he was arrested and held on a felony charge might prevent him from being able to join any branch of the Armed Services.

Yeah, I was skipping over all this earlier. You said he was 16 when it happened and was not convicted, so you could do some "writerly magic" and let it all get sealed by the courts because he was a minor and wasn't convicted.

Marine enlistment requirements. (http://www.marines.com/eligibility/requirements) How long he serves will depend on the job he gets. Straight "needs of the Marines" can be a shorter than 4 year hitch. Some higher training positions can be 6-years or more because the individual will be spending the first several years in school.

So, what skills do you need this individual to have? Then the research will give you your answers. (http://www.marines.com/eligibility/service-options/enlisted)
Good luck!

cmhbob
06-29-2015, 11:25 AM
I'm trying to figure out how a minor could sit in detention for a year without being tried. You have to get past that before you can worry about enlisting. No way can that happen legally, unless there's a judge in on the deal somewhere. Murders in small towns are big news, so someone would be asking around about why this kid is still in jail without being tried. Small-town reporters love stories like this.

Vince524
06-29-2015, 05:34 PM
The deal is that the corruption goes up pretty high to a family that is very prominent. The mayor who would go on to be a state Senator was pulling and pushing strings, including with the police chief, the judge, etc. I'm thinking that there were trial delays, etc. His Public Defender was trying to get him to cop to a plea deal, but he refused. Eventually a few things happened. He realized his PDA wasn't looking out for him, the Mayor was elected to the Senate, and the police chief had a heart attack in the bed of a prostitute and had to be replaced. The new police chief grew up there, but wasn't part of it and she's the mother of one of the other MC's that will star more in the sequel. (A lot of this doesn't get brought to light in the first book.)

Once the case fell apart, (No evidence beyond the fact that they had been dating, had a public fight where she slapped his face. He left without raising her hand and she disappeared during the dance.) He was found OD'ed somewhere, but his medical records disappeared so they don't know what he was on and he didn't do drugs before that night.

I can see the judge sealing the case to allow him to join the military once it became clear that they weren't going to be able to pin it on him. They wanted him gone so he wouldn't ever be able to convince people he was innocent and they wouldn't say, 'hey if he didn't do it than who did?' Left town while under suspicion worked.

And the new police chief would have told anyone who investigated that she didn't believe him responsible.

jclarkdawe
06-29-2015, 06:37 PM
How believable do you want this to be? I don't know what state you're trying to put this in, but even in the deep South, you've got major problems.

First is someone 16 or 17 would almost definitely be charged as an adult.

Second is that there is a US Constitutional right to a speedy trial. Every state, on a weekly basis, looks at people who are in custody pre-trial and figure out when their speedy trial date is. You have to get a continuance if you want to delay as the defendant. Prosecutors will only very rarely ask for a continuance. Your kid wouldn't be sitting there for a year without a trial.

Third, his medical records would not disappear. A sample taken for a criminal case requires that the sample be split in half, with one half being tested and the other half being retained for testing by the defendant. Results from the tested sample is sent to the doctor who ordered the test, the lab, the medical record, the prosecutor, and the defendant. If the defendant doesn't get the second sample and the lab results within a couple of weeks, the defendant is going to be asking for the case to be dismissed, and more than likely, that's what's going to happen.

Fourth is there's not enough to hold someone with what you're saying. If the local state court doesn't let him free, the US District Court would.

Fifth, the father would not be permitted anywhere near the case. Case would be taken over by either the county sheriff or the state police. Any fiddling by the local police or mayor and the case would be thrown out.

Sixth is that without proof that your character was innocent (as opposed to not guilty), the military wouldn't touch him.

Here's what you need to make this work. A good, solid case against the kid with minimal or no corruption. Then you need a witness to come forward who has had a good reason for not being around who trashes the state's case, such as an alibi witness. Kid would then need a positive recommendation into the military that would cause the military to waive their normal rejection of this kid.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Vince524
06-29-2015, 06:56 PM
Hmm. I'll have to do some thinking then.

My thought was that when it happened, the entire local justice system is in on it. The mayor, police chief, the DA, the PDA. Nobody was advocating for the kid. His father wouldn't be part of the investigation, but he'd be in on it as well, so he'd sign off on any waivers. It would never go to a higher court. And if the defense was in fact in on it, there'd be no reason to know the evidence was lost. I was also thinking it might be lost more after the charges were dropped.


I could shorten the time he's in jail. Have him be older when it happened, arrested, jailed awaiting trial and then it fell apart.

Would the military really not allow him to join if he was accused of a crime, but not even brought to trial? Would a letter from the police chief help?

badwolf.usmc
06-29-2015, 10:47 PM
Would the military really not allow him to join if he was accused of a crime, but not even brought to trial? Would a letter from the police chief help?

Depends on time and place but for the most part if he was accused of the crime and the charges were dropped then he could enlist with no problems. I have ten years in the Marines, split between active duty and the reserves, so if you have any more questions let me know.

jclarkdawe
06-29-2015, 11:15 PM
Your first problem is that a murder case is a big deal. There's a good potential that this would hit national news, but would definitely make local news. The indictment is a public record, and the press knows how to read. Within ten days of his arrest, a probable cause hearing would be held, open to the public, where the prosecutor has to present enough evidence to hold the defendant. The prosecutor has to show that the defendant probably committed the crime. All you have is a fight and her disappearance. Enough to be a suspect, but unlikely to be enough to hold him for very long.

The public defender reports to someone, the clerk of the court reports to someone, the judge is supervised by someone, the police report to the state police, the prosecutor reports to the attorney general. And the people at the jail want to get rid of him if he's not legally there. Somehow or other, you want all these people to want to get this kid in trouble, and make sure the record is screwed up enough so no one notices. And remember, murder is a big deal. In the time period you're talking about, there were a couple of corruption cases that popped up, but they involved the small crimes, not the big ones. Stuff where no one looks too hard.

The idea that "local justice" operates in a vacuum is no longer true. We've seen how that gets messed up. Gradually over the last 30 years more and more controls have been put into place to control the problem.

Some of the inmates are very savvy on the law. They're going to figure out his lawyer is screwing him. Good likelihood one of the inmates will talk to their attorney about the situation. It's hard for situations like this to remain hidden.

When he applies to the military, he'd need to get a waiver. The military is well aware of charges being dropped because the state knew it could not get a conviction. He's going to have to convince his recruiter, and then the person handling the waiver, that he was actually innocent. This can be hard to do on drug charges. However, if he's desirable to the military, then it becomes easier.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

T Robinson
06-30-2015, 01:50 AM
Unless it has changed very recently, some branches of the military will even take probationers, if they have completed their sentence and don't fall into certain categories. Case by case basis, but it has happened. I have had three or four like that over the years. So if there is no conviction and everything else checks out when the recruiter checks, I don't see a problem. As to specific to the Marines, I'd go with whatever Badwolf says.

Taejang
07-02-2015, 07:36 PM
As a thought alluded to by others, if he has some special skill the Marines would be interested in, they may be more likely to sign the waiver. Additionally, the timeframe matters quite a bit; if his joining happened in late 2001/early 2002, when all the branches were building up and gearing for war, or again just before the Iraq invasion, that would impact chances of a signed waiver. (Assuming this is in the USA.)

Is there a reason why the case can't go to trial? If it goes and he is exonerated, it makes the waiver situation easier. I'm not sure how long a case can stay in trial, but for murder he would probably be held in prison for the duration. That may let you keep him in the slammer for some time, yet ultimately released. The locals may not be able to manipulate the actual court proceedings as much as you originally intended, but the local townsfolk could still be convinced he did it, regardless of the trial's results (providing amble reason to 'get out of Dodge').

RKarina
07-02-2015, 08:31 PM
As others have said - it depends on when. Military enlistment today can be a bit more rigorous than in the past.

My son is currently in process of going into the Air Force. Both the recruiter and the folks at MEPS were very clear (and there is a form to complete on this subject). ANY arrest or incarceration record must be reported, and you will need to obtain a waiver to complete enlistment. That includes minor records.

It is not a guaranteed disqualifier, but there would have to be some explanation of it. My son didn't have to do that - never been arrested or had any trouble - so I don't know from experience what would happen if there were records of any sort. I can say the recruiter indicated it would require additional paperwork and a lot more time to get all the details sorted out and the waiver.

The Air Force now does a fairly extensive background check as part of the enlistment process, requiring you to list references, including those for every place you've lived, gone to school, or worked recently.

If this is a current story, even "sealed" juvenile records are not a 100% guarantee. They don't just disappear as if they never happened. They are just sealed - as in, you can't see the details, or even what it was. Which might cause raised eyebrows and need of a waiver in today's military climate.

So yeah... He's got to convince the recruiter and other military personnel that he is not a risk, and is not entering the military in an attempt to escape justice elsewhere.

If he has highly desirable skills (hackers are not high on the list - they're seen as dangerous), tests incredibly well on the ASVAB, etc, that would make him more interesting and perhaps ease the way for him a bit.

Taejang
07-02-2015, 09:02 PM
If he has highly desirable skills (hackers are not high on the list - they're seen as dangerous), tests incredibly well on the ASVAB, etc, that would make him more interesting and perhaps ease the way for him a bit.
I just want to clarify that part about hackers. Amateur hackers are indeed seen as dangerous, but that's because hackers tend to be hackers due to personality issues (disrespect for authority, desire to take without earning, issues caused by being lonely or cut off from peers, getting pleasure from another's pain, etc). Professional hackers, called penetration testers, are being actively recruited as quickly as federal agencies can woo them away from the private sector. Not so much the Marines, but DoD, CIA, Homeland Defense, some Air Force or Navy, etc. I know FBI agents with pen testing skills, I have a cousin who did contract work of that nature for several federal agencies and local police forces, and they even tried to recruit me (and my pen testing skills are pretty pathetic). There is just a huge shortage of talented, professional hackers, and not just in America.

I very much doubt that matters to your story, as your protagonist doesn't seem the hacker type and if so, he would almost certainly be an amateur and not a real pen tester, but I wanted to clarify for others viewing this thread. Sorry RKarina if that seems like splitting hairs; I don't mean to detract from your statement, as it is true.

RKarina
07-02-2015, 10:29 PM
I very much doubt that matters to your story, as your protagonist doesn't seem the hacker type and if so, he would almost certainly be an amateur and not a real pen tester, but I wanted to clarify for others viewing this thread. Sorry RKarina if that seems like splitting hairs; I don't mean to detract from your statement, as it is true.

Actually I appreciate the clarification - I took the short approach and skipped it since it didn't seem like the MC would be beyond the amateur type. Kinda vaguely familiar thanks to the hubby's job stuff.