Can the military prosecute decades-old rape cases? The Supreme Court will soon decide.

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on cases today that could open the door for prosecuting decades-old rape allegations that have been previously prohibited due to a five-year time limit placed on prosecuting rapes that may have occurred between 1986 to 2006.

The new court case would not affect current rape cases, but it could impact some older cases that were previously deemed too old for prosecuting, said retired Marine Corps officer and career military attorney Colby Vokey.

“There are probably not very many cases in the system where this applies,” Vokey said in an interview. “But there’s always the potential for someone to make a rape allegation now, from 20 years ago, and all of the sudden for this to be relevant.”

The specific case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States v. Briggs, is consolidated, or combined with other similar rape cases. The main case involves Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Briggs. Those other cases involve two other Air Force personnel accused of rape — Lt. Col. Humphrey Daniels, who raped a woman in 1998 and Master Sgt. Richard Collins, who raped an airman in 2000.


Author: Dian Welle