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Sex Offender Registration

The latest article in the August issue of the Army Lawyer is available online, and should be read by every civilian military attorney.  An article that is a must read is Major Andrew D. Flor’s article Sex Offender Registration Laws and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.  An excerpt of his article is as follows:

Before 2006, most trial defense counsel had little reason to consider sex offender registration laws in their day-to-day business.  In late-2006, this changed completely when the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) created a new rule that gave sudden attention to sex offender registration laws in courts-martial practice. The CAAF held that a trial defense counsel’s failure to advise an accused charged with a sex offense of potential sex offender registration requirements on the record would not constitute “per se ineffective assistance of counsel, . . . [but would] be one circumstance [that the CAAF would] carefully consider in evaluating allegations of ineffective assistance of counsel.” 


The dilemma for trial defense counsel stems from the fact that the federal criminal justice system, including the military justice system, does not dictate the registration of sex offenders. The individual states dictate sex offender registration requirements.  As a result, a defense counsel advising an accused charged with a sex offense would need to study all fifty state sex offender registration laws in order to completely advise a client.  Thankfully the CAAF did not require this; they only required “trial defense counsel to be aware of the federal statute addressing mandatory reporting and registration for those who are convicted of offenses within the scope of this statute.” 


This article addresses the minimum standard articulated by the court and also provides a state-by-state analysis of sex offender registration laws and their requirements.  First, this article analyzes the background of sex offender registration laws and defines what constitutes a sex offender.  Second, this article addresses the different state methodologies regarding sex offender registration and what constitutes an offense requiring registration.  Finally, the appendices address each state specifically.  This article provides trial defense counsel with sufficient information to advise a client on the specific collateral consequences of a possible sex offense conviction, depending on the state where the client will live after confinement

Civilian Military Attorney

A good civilian military attorney will stay abreast of changes in the law that potentially impacts their clients.  Mr. Coombs has over twenty years of experience as a civilian military attorney.  He has successfully represented Soldiers charged with sexual assault and rape.  Call today for a free initial consultation.