The rise of Somali piracy in the beginning of the 21st century led to a swift response by the international community. Suspects were arrested by naval forces in the high seas exercising universal jurisdiction. As there is no international tribunal for maritime piracy, the suspects were prosecuted in national courts using domestic laws. The United States prosecuted a handful of cases using its piracy statute passed in 1909, which incorporates international law but prescribes mandatory life imprisonment for those convicted. Although the definition of the crime of piracy in the United States evolves along with developments in international law, the punishment is an outlier that deviates from global norms. This article argues that the punishment for piracy in the United States must also evolve with international practice because a changing definition of a crime coupled with a fixed punishment may lead to rule of law violations and other undesirable results.