Specialist James Dial and his wife, Joanna Dial, werestationed at Baumholder, Germany, when one of their children died.
Both werecharged initially with unpremeditated murder, they offered to plea toinvoluntary manslaughter. James was sentenced to 3 yrs. and then dishonorablydischarged. Joanna was also sentenced to three years, but upon arrival that theFederal Reformatory for Women at Alderson, West Virginia, she filed a habeascorpus and obtained discharge from custody. The Supreme Court found in Reid v Covert that non-military persons cannotbe court martialed for non-capital offenses. Procedural History:State trial court, sentenced her based on the court martialtrial. Supreme Court, prosecution and conviction by court-martial are notconstitutionally permissible, Affirmed.
Issue:Do military courts have jurisdiction over civiliandependents of military personnel? Rules:Article 2(11) of the UCMJ, providing trial by court-martialof “all persons accompanying the armed forces”Art, I, 8, cl 14 of the constitution, granting Congresspower to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of land and naval forces”The Necessary and Proper Clause, Art I ,8, cl 18, does notenable Congress to broaden the term “land and naval Forces”The wife was entitled to safeguards of Art III and the Fifthand Sixth amendments of the Constitution. Application:It was found that Article 2(11) could not beconstitutionally applied to civilian service dependents with capital offenses.It was found that non-military personnel are never within the reach of theArticle I power in times of peace. Thedifference between capital offenses and non-capital offenses is notconstitutionally significant, if Article 2(11) is applied to nonmilitarypersonnel is unconstitutional in one case then it is unconstitutional in allcases.
There is a clear difference in “accompanying the armed forces” and “servingwith or employed by” the armed forces. Conclusion:It was held that civilian dependents can only be courtmartialed for capital offenses, so Joanna was entitled to a trial in a courtthat would protect her rights.