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KINSELLA V. SINGLETON, 361 U. S. 234 (1960)

U.S. Supreme Court

Kinsella v. Singleton, 361 U.S. 234 (1960)

Kinsella v. Singleton

No. 22

Argued October 22, 1959

Decided January 18, 1960

361 U.S. 234


Article 2(11) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, providing for the trial by court-martial of "all persons . . . accompanying the armed forces" of the United States in foreign countries, cannot constitutionally be applied in peacetime to the trial of a civilian dependent accompanying a member of the armed forces overseas and charged with having committed a noncapital offense there. Reid v. Covert, 354 U. S. 1. Pp. 361 U. S. 235-249.

(a) In providing for trials by courts-martial, Congress was exercising the power granted by Art. I, § 8, cl. 14 of the Constitution to "make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces," and the test for court-martial jurisdiction is one of status -- i.e., whether the accused is a person who can be regarded as falling within the term "land and naval Forces." Toth v. Quarles, 350 U. S. 11; Reid v. Covert, 354 U. S. 1. Pp. 361 U. S. 236-241.

(b) Under Art. I, § 8, cl. 14, no constitutional distinction can be drawn between capital and noncapital offenses; if a civilian cannot be tried by court-martial in peacetime for a capital offense, he cannot be tried by court-martial in peacetime for a noncapital offense. Pp. 361 U. S. 241-248.

(c) The Necessary and Proper Clause, Art. I, § 8, cl. 18, does not enable Congress to broaden the term "land and naval Forces" in Clause 14 to include civilian dependents accompanying members of the armed forces overseas, even in providing for trials for noncapital offenses. Pp. 361 U. S. 247-248.

(d) The dependent wife of a soldier here involved was entitled to the safeguards of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments of the Constitution, and her conviction by court-martial was not constitutionally permissible. P. 361 U. S. 249.

164 F.Supp. 707 affirmed.

Page 361 U. S. 235

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