October 22, 2020

Supreme Court Addresses Statute of Limitations and Capital Punishment Questions in Military Rape Case

Last week the Supreme Court heard arguments in U.S. v. Briggs, which consolidates three cases of male U.S. service members convicted of rape. The Court is considering whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces erred in ruling that the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows prosecution of a rape committed between 1986 and 2006, only if it was discovered and charged within five years. The arguments addressed two main issues: (1) whether the male service members should have been prosecuted at all because of the statute of limitations; and (2) whether the Eighth Amendment prohibition against capital punishment for non-homicide rape applies to rape in the military.