Supreme Court: Retirees Can Be Court-Martialed for Crimes Committed After Service
By Patricia Kime
22 Feb 2019
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Defense Department's authority to prosecute retired service members for crimes they commit, even after retirement.
In this Oct. 5, 2018 photo the U. S. Supreme Court building stands quietly before dawn in Washington. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)The court on Tuesday chose not to hear the case of a retired Marine who was court-martialed for a sexual assault he committed three months after leaving the service in August 2015. By not accepting the case, Larrabee v. the United States, the court upheld the status quo: that military retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The denial of Larrabee's petition marks the high court's second rebuff in a year of a case involving a military retiree accused of non-military crimes in retirement.
Retired Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Steven Larrabee was convicted of sexually assaulting a bartender, the wife of an active-duty Marine, at a bar in Iwakuni, Japan, where he worked as a civilian. He had been retired -- technically, placed on the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve status list -- for three months.
Following a general court-martial in which he wore civilian clothes, Larrabee was sentenced to eight years' confinement, a reprimand and a dishonorable discharge. In a pre-trial agreement, Larrabee's prison term was reduced to 10 months.
Larrabee served his sentence but tried to have his conviction overturned on appeal, arguing that he should have been tried in a civilian court, as the offenses occurred after he was retired.
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