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    • Brief

    United States v. Briggs; United States v. Collins; United States v. Daniels

    Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents.

    Argument: First, there must be a specific reason not to apply the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution to servicemembers. As there is no issue of military importance that excludes servicemembers from the protections of the Eighth Amendment, rape of an adult cannot be an “offense punishable by death.” Under the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause of the Eighth Amendment, the crime of rape of an adult cannot be punishable by death. Petitioner has not met its burden to provide a military-specific exception for the application of the Eighth Amendment to servicemembers. Here, the Petitioner offers policy prescriptions and “national security” reasons which are insufficient to deprive a service-member of his or her constitutional rights. Further, canons of statutory interpretation require that Article 43 must be read to protect applicable constitutional rights. Specifically, sections in the same statutory scheme should be read in pari materia, or interpreted together. Article 43, at the time of Respondents’ alleged offenses, had no statute of limitations for crimes punishable by death, including rape, but established a five-year limitation otherwise; however, Article 55 prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, mirroring the Eighth Amendment. Applying Supreme Court precedent that precludes death as a punishment for rape of an adult, Article 43 read in conjunction with Article 55 requires that rape was subject to a five-year statute of limitations at the time of the alleged offenses. Lastly, civilian law must inform the interpretation of the UCMJ. The CAAF may not freely disregard Supreme Court precedent without a “legitimate military necessity or distinction.” Therefore, the CAAF’s decision to reverse Respondents’ convictions should be affirmed.

    • Brief

    Martoma v. United States

    Brief of Amicus Curiae National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers In Support of Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

    Argument: Over 200 years ago, this Court declared that there are no federal common law crimes. Although that rule remains in place, the intervening years have witnessed the creation of quasi-common law crimes. These are crimes that rest on statutory terms so broad and indefinite that courts are left to define the elements of the offense with little or no guidance from the statutory text. Quasi-common law crimes shift the task of defining what conduct deserves "the moral condemnation of the community" from the legislature, where it belongs, to the courts. This Court has sought to remedy the lack of fair warning inherent in quasi-common law crimes through a process of interpretation that often resembles common law crime definition. Insider trading liability--and, in particular, the liability of tippers and tippees at issue here—has followed the same pattern. In the tipper/tippee insider trading context, therefore--as in the antitrust and honest services contexts--the Court, rather than Congress, has determined the elements of the crime. And as in those contexts, a person seeking to conform his conduct to the law when trading on a tip of nonpublic information will learn virtually nothing from the statutory text. He must turn instead to Dirks' "simple and clear 'guiding principle' for determining tippee liability" and act accordingly. The Court's definition of these and other quasi-common law crimes--its creation of "simple and clear guiding principle[s]" for determining whether an offense has been committed--ameliorates (but does not eliminate) the fair warning danger such crimes present. But the Court's decisions perform that function only if the lower courts treat their operative language as if Congress had included that language in the statute itself. If lower courts can modify the Court's "guiding principles" materially, as the court of appeals did here, and thus broaden the scope of criminal liability, then the lack of fair warning inherent in quasi-common law crimes will remain. It is therefore essential to individual liberty that the Court rigorously police the lower courts' application of its decisions defining quasi-common law crimes. The need for the Court's intervention is particularly acute here, because the court of appeals endorsed an expansion of the tipper/tippee insider trading crime that the Court declined to adopt in Salman.