More on SOR

Advising a client on SOR is difficult.  They want specific answers and often you can’t give them more than general advice.  There are several points I try to make with clients.

Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), specifically includes certain Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) convictions in its definition of “sex offense.”

Department of Defense Instruction 1325.07 contains the specific list of UCMJ convictions that require registration under SORNA1. Jurisdictions must ensure that all of the UCMJ convictions listed in DOD Instruction 1325.07 are included in their sex offender registration schemes.

In 2015, SORNA was amended to require the Department of Defense to submit information to the National Sex Offender Registry and the National Sex Offender Public Website about any person adjudged of a covered sex offense via courts-martial or released from a military corrections facility after being incarcerated for such an offense. The Department of Defense continues to work on developing a system to meet its responsibilities under these new provisions, which are found in 34 U.S.C. § 20931.

SMART.

SOR laws change fairly regularly.  That means a law may not apply to the client today, but the law may change a day after sentencing and registration is required or the change comes several years after.  The Courts have generally rejected ex-post facto challenges (although there has been some movement under state constitutions.

  1. “Given the unique structure of the military justice system, state jurisdictions must determine which military convictions will be recognized as registerable offenses — and how they will be categorized. For example, a state-level requirement to register based on a conviction of a sex offense in “federal court” was held to also include a court-martial from a military court.  Issues also arise when trying to compare uniquely military offenses that might have a sexual component — such as “Conduct Unbecoming an Officer” — to jurisdiction-level sex offenses. In at least one state, an offender convicted under article 134 of the UCMJ for an offense relating to child pornography was required to register because the offense of conviction was determined to be a “like violation” to a state offense.”   https://www.smart.gov/caselaw/4-Case-Law-Update-2018-Residency-Military.pdf (useful references are attached to this article)
  2. A plea to an assault and battery as an LIO of a 120 sounds good.  Be careful because some state may now or later decide it’s sufficiently “like” a state crime which requires registration.

The DoD IG Evaluation of compliance with SORNA (2014) is here.

32 CFR 635.6 requiring registration of offenders on base is here.