United States v. Briggs

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: November 15, 2019
  • Case #: 19-108
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 78 M.J. 209 (Armed Forces App. 2019).
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces erred in concluding—contrary to its own longstanding precedent—that the Uniform Code of Military Justice allows prosecution of a rape that occurred between 1986 and 2006 only if it was discovered and charged within five years.

This petition has been consolidated with that of United States v. Collins, case number 19-184. Respondents were both convicted of rape in violation of 10 U.S.C. § 920(a) by military tribunals in the early to mid 2010s, for conduct that occurred prior to 2006. Article 43(a) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) was amended in 2006 to add “rape” to the list of offenses punishable by death that “may be tried and punished at any time without limitation.” 10 U.S.C. § 843(a). The Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces reversed Respondents’ convictions following its decision in United States v. Mangahas, 77 M.J. 220 (2018). It relied on its holding that where the death penalty could never be imposed for the offense charged, the offense was therefore not punishable by death for purposes of Article 43 and the default UCMJ five-year statute of limitations applies. In the petitions to the Supreme Court, the United States argues that the CAAF erred in reversing the convictions, as the decisions contravene the statutory text which contains no limitation for trying military sexual assault cases. The United States also notes that this interpretation contradicts the CAAF’s prior holdings regarding time limitations in pre-2006 cases and that public policy of both the CAAF and Congress support the prior interpretation.

Advanced Search

Back to Top