Saturday, November 22, 2014

Watch for Scripps "Under the Radar" report tomorrow on flawed military system for registration of sex offenders

An investigative team from Scripps News has prepared a major report on gaps in the system for registration of individuals convicted of sex offenses by courts-martial. According to this press release:
After an exhaustive review of more than 1,300 military cases and sex offender registries from across the country, the Scripps national investigative team has uncovered disturbing truths about military sex offenders and the civilian world's efforts to track them.
Zimman Casey was an Army private first class when a military court convicted him of assault and "indecent acts" on a young girl and sentenced him to three years in prison. After his release in 2002 from Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Casey headed for Texas, where the convicted military sex offender effectively slid under the public radar, allowing him to prey again and again. By 2007, the former soldier had been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor under 14.
The investigation, Under the Radar, revealed that Casey is one of at least 242 convicted military sex offenders who returned to civilian life but do not appear on any public registry of sex offenders. Among their offenses: rape, sexual assault with a weapon and child molestation.
As a result of the Scripps investigation, law enforcement officials in three states are hunting for former Army Specialist Basil Kingsberry. Convicted of rape and forcible sodomy in a military court martial, Kingsberry hasn't appeared on a sex offender registry anywhere in the country in the nearly 10 years since his release. . . .
"Under the Radar" will begin airing tomorrow (Nov. 23, 2014) on Scripps television stations and digital outlets.


  1. Let me try this again . . . . Unless the investigators factored the date of the court-martial conviction, the results may be considerably overstated. For example, in People v. Kennedy, 7 NY3d 87, 850 NE2d 661 (NY 2006) [DISCLAIMER: I was counsel for the NY State Ass'n of Crim. Defense Lawyers as amicus curiae for the defendant], the Court ruled that the defendant had no duty to register in NY for his LIO conviction by a Navy court-martial, where he'd originally been charged with rape. That was due in part because of the wording of the Statute and the way that the then DoD Instructions were worded. Per the concurring opinion in Kennedy, NY amended the law and of course the DoD has been aggressively pushing this as well.

    So, unless the dates of the convictions are factored into the "Under the Radar" investigation, their figures will be skewed to make it appear that this is a broader problem than it was / is. Indeed, based upon Kennedy, I have another former Army client convicted of an indecent act as a LIO to a rape charge, where the DA opted to not even pursue the SORA registration issue because of the "gap" in the reporting law.

  2. Note an interesting New York trial-level decision indicating that a summary court-martial conviction qualifies as a conviction for purposes of the New York sex offender registration statute: Coram v. Board of Examiners, Sex Offender Registry of the State of New York, 758 N.Y.S.2d 235 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003) (“Petitioner’s conviction by summary court-martial to Indecent Assault and Sodomy by Force Without Consent is a ‘sex offense’ within the present statute requiring him to register as a sex offender”). The opinion indicates that the New York attorney general agreed with the petitioner that a summary court-martial conviction was NOT a registerable conviction.


Comments are subject to moderation and must be submitted under your real name. Anonymous comments will not be posted (even though the form seems to permit them).