Sex offender registration is a serious consequence of court-martial. It is so serious in fact, that the CAAF in U.S. v. Miller, 63 M.J. 452 (C.A.A.F., 2006) has directed defense counsel to advise clients of the effect of sex offender laws, and Military Judges are to ensure that advice has been given.
In Miller, the CAAF has declared sex offender registration a “unique collateral circumstance.” The impact of sex offender registration may, in many cases, be more onerous and have a more profound effect than the conviction itself and any sentence adjudged.
Your court-martial defense lawyer may have the members consider the collateral effects:
- The effect of Article 58a
- The effects of a sentence to life without parole
- The effects of Article 58b
- Lack of funds available to the accused’s family (discretionary)
- The effects of a punitive discharge or a dismissal
- Effects of punitive discharge on retirement benefits
- The difference between vested and unvested benefits
If military judges instruct on the loss of retirement benefits, then sex offender registration should also be instructed upon at defense request. In United States v. Boyd, 55 M.J. 217 (C.A.A.F., 2001), the Court of Appeals required that “military judges in all cases tried after the date of this opinion to instruct on the impact of a punitive discharge on retirement benefits, if there is an evidentiary predicate for the instruction and a party requests it.”
Sexual Assault Defense
If you are facing a sexual assault, rape or other Article 120 UCMJ offense in Hawaii, Korea, Japan, Okinawa or anywhere on the globe, ensure you discuss all of your options with your court-martial defense lawyer.