Military officials have confirmed to WFXR that desertion charges will be pursued against Michael Brown after civilian authorities have fully prosecuted the matter.
WFXR spoke with an expert who has experience working in the military court system.
“The military always believes that it’s independent and that the most important thing they want to pursue is good order and discipline. You don’t want your troops running away. You don’t want them to be deserters,” says David Western, associate dean for administration and student development at Liberty University.
Western spent 24 years as a judge advocate with the U.S. Air Force. He’s been on both sides of desertion cases, having prosecuted and defended accused military deserters.
“Unfortunately, it’s very frequent that people desert,” says Western.
As in the case of Brown, there are sometimes other factors at play.
“Usually, desertion is one of those offenses that goes along with something else. It’s rare that someone just deserts because they’re tired of the military. Usually they desert because there’s something else that’s going on, like there’s another form of criminal activity they’ve been involved with,” says Western.
That means individuals like Brown could face charges in a civilian court as well as a military court, and in some instances, be tried for the same misconduct in both.
“In those very serious cases, the states usually do not want to give up jurisdiction. So in those situations, usually the military will then prosecute those crimes that are military specific. In this case, the military specific crime is that of desertion,” says Western.
Brown remains in the custody of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office as he awaits prosecution on his murder charge.
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