Seaman Jones was found guilty of an impressive number of offenses totaling 12 specifications. One of those 12 specs was a 10-hour UA. During the providence inquiry, Jones indicated that he spent those 10 hours in a local jail. But the providence inquiry failed to explain what happened with whatever charges the civilians were holding him on. The Coast Guard Court explained:
Although the military judge implied that incarceration in a civilian jail never excuses an absence, the Manual for Courts-Martial recognizes that a member may be held by civilian authorities and prevented from returning to his or her unit but never found to have committed the offense for which detained. In such a case, the detention was not the result of the member's misconduct, and the member is not guilty of unauthorized absence. Manual for Courts-Martial, Pt. IV, ¶ 10.c.(5)(MCM), United States (2005 ed.).
Because the military judge never inquired into this potential defense, the Coast Guard Court set aside the finding of guilty to the 10-hour UA, then applied Sales and affirmed the sentence as adjudged and partially suspended.