Supreme Court Considers Statute of Limitations for Military Rape Cases [Updated January 4, 2021]   [open pdf - 725KB]

From the Document: "In the consolidated cases 'United States v. Briggs' and 'United States v. Collins', decided on December 10, 2020, the Supreme Court overturned two lower court decisions and reinstated the rape convictions of three former servicemembers. The cases turned on the applicable statute of limitations under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for prosecuting rapes committed by military servicemembers between 1986 and 2006. Before 1986, the statute of limitations--the time after which an offense cannot be punished--was three years; since 2006, there is no statute of limitations under the UCMJ for rape. But between 1986 and 2006, the length of the statute of limitations depended on whether rape was interpreted as an offense 'punishable by death' under the UCMJ. In its decision, the Court held that rape was punishable by death during this period under the UCMJ's terms and, accordingly, there was no statute of limitations between 1986 and 2006. This Sidebar begins by discussing the relevant legislative history and judicial interpretations of the UCMJ's statute of limitations and punitive provisions for rape. It then summarizes the factual and procedural history in 'Briggs' and 'Collins', outlines the parties' arguments before the Supreme Court, and discusses the Court's decision. The Sidebar concludes with some considerations for Congress."

Report Number:
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10557
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/
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