May 23, 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.
The court 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 law stipulates that “retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay” and “members of the Fleet Marine Corps Reserve” are subject to court-martial jurisdiction. The reasoning, the government argues, is that retirement is simply a change of military status and retired personnel are subject to recall should the need arise.