CAAF has issued an opinion in United States v. Riley.

Private Cassandra Riley plead guilty to kidnapping of a minor, she had a PTA for 11 years, and the MJ sentenced her to five.

Problem – Private Riley was never advised of the need to register as a sex offender by her defense counsel and there was no discussion on the record by the MJ.  Private Riley found out about the need to register several months after trial.

The CAAF set aside the conviction finding based on an improvident plea.  The CAAF did not reach the issue of IAC which was also litigated.

12 Responses to “In the CAAF”

  1. Christian Deichert says:

    Is there no section like this in the benchbook? If not, might be time for the benchbook committee to make a non-exclusive list of offenses that might trigger registry (including Q&A with both counsel on effect of plea of guilty to X offense, as well as Q&A with defense counsel on advice on potential registry) and include it in the guilty plea inquiry.  Or even just include a Q&A regardless.  Would not take that much.
    MJ: Counsel, are you aware of any applicable requirements for the accused to register (himself) (herself) with a state agency, such as a sex offender database, as a result of this guilty plea?
    TC/DC: (responds)

  2. Advocaat says:

    How many people ran and reviewed the latest version of DoDI 1325.07 like I did after reading this case?  How many defenders would also have missed giving Miller advice under these circumstances?  It looks like many jdxns require a nexus to sexual gratification for kidnapping of a minor to result in registration but some, like New York, do not.  Kudos to Army DCAP for their 25 Mar 13 update (DCAP Sends 7-9; and note this is the only such outlier offense I saw in DoDI tables).

  3. Phil Cave says:

    Advocaat, These issues are complex.  Personally I think you have to delve a little bit past the DODI.  And even then, as you allude, it’s not always clear.

  4. Contact Lawyer says:

    I wonder if the accused would be satisfied with five years without having to register? Could the PTA and charges be structured to avoid registration. The complicated part of this is that registration is governed by separate, independent, and various jurisdictions. Perhaps accused just wants to temporarily wiggle out for a brief reprieve and get the back pay? On the five year issue, accused agreed to 11 years. May be unfair to require registration, but that is a collateral consequence governed by something beyond our system’s purview.

    Can anyone speculate on what happens next in this case?

  5. Contact Lawyer says:

    I just read the case and will look for the earlier decision to see if more facts are discussed. I wonder why she had to kidnap her own baby?

    I am not sure if any charge would preclude registration? The circumstances may justify a PTA structured with charges that would be less likely to require registration. Don’t put me in the liberal camp, but I feel sorry for this woman. She did not have the right to take the infant if she dis not have custody or if the baby required hospitalization, but this crime is inconsistent with the purpose for the registration requirements.

    As a side note, I see that Keith Hodges gets an honorable mention in the decision.

  6. Contact Lawyer says:

    Sorry for some mix up of the facts. A quick read of the CAAF decision makes it appear the accused kidnapped her own baby. A read of the Army decision clarifies that accused was on excess leave from another court-martial and tried to steal a stranger’s baby. When my wife and I were at Bethesda for the birth of our one and only treasure we had some ROE to preclude such an incident. No baby leaves without verifying the arm bands and I do not recall if there was an electronic monitor, but there may have been. Our ROE was that one of us had to have eyes on at all times and the baby did not leave the room without one of us.

    At this point I am less concerned about what happens to the accused and now see she will not get back pay because she was on excess leave, though I am not sure of that. There is still a compelling case that registration is unfair, but I am sure the mother of the baby does not care if accused has to register or spend the rest of her life at the DB.

  7. stewie says:

    On the one hand, sexual registration seems wrong because obviously that was not her intent and she is not a danger to sexually assault children.  On the other hand, this woman is a clear danger to possibly do this again in the future so some warning would be nice. 

  8. nw says:

    @stewie, because kidnapping is an offense against a child, most states require registration.  The purpose of the registries are to put people on notice and, like you said, this is the type of person folks would want to be on notice of across jurisdictions.
    Obviously, it’s a bit of a misnomer to call it sex offender registration, but there are a few non-sex offenses that will trigger SOR.  Let this be lesson to trial defense counsel out there – if the charges involve offenses against a child, you will need to do some homework.
    Also, don’t kidnap children.

  9. Contact Lawyer says:

    It appears the problem is that the registires are being used for more than sex offenders. Nothing we can do about that, but because of the extreme stigmatization, this one day may be addressed. The laws are tilted toward protection of children; rightfully so, but this is something the Supreme Court would curtail if it had one or two more liberals. I am sure all of us here want justice, but the registrybissue only comes into play after an accused is found guilty. For the lessor sex crimes, an accused is thrown on the list as the rapists and kiddie didlers after serving a short sentence or no confinement. Insuppose an accused could find a favorable jurisdiction?

    As seen with that other SOR case, the registration requirement imposes an administrative burden and negligent failure to register may lead to more confinement than the original charge. One state has a fee that if not paid is also a criminal offense.

    Reform of this, if ever, would have to come from the courts. No one else cares. Any legislators trying to help the sex offender lobby will not fare well with voters. The best solution here is to advise accuseds that theynwill likely have to register. This decision should not impact too many cases and may not impact this one because the evidence seems strong and if the accused is convicted again she will have to register again and this time she will not have this appeal issue to save her.

  10. stewie says:

    I understand all of that nw, my problem is that sex offender registration seems to indicate something different from what she did, and to be lumped in there with folks who’ve sexually assaulted kids seems someone inaccurate.

  11. Army Prosecutor says:

    Not withstanding that the DoDI delineates kidnapping as an offense requiring sex offender registration, in this case there were sex toys found in the accused’s vehicle (along with a plethora of new baby items, knives with 8″ and 10″ long blades, the medical scrubs she used to disguise herself to gain access to the Mother/Baby ward and trick the baby’s mother into believing she was the charge nurse, and the backpack into which she stuffed the baby as she made her escape from the baby ward). Who knows what she planned to do to the baby had she succeeded in getting out of the main hospital doors. I was the prosecutor on the case and all parties, leading up to, and at the time of trial, missed the registration issue–myself included.  Post-trial, the mistake was corrected on the ROT and confinement order, but it never occurred to us that it affected the fidelity of her plea.  What an unfortunate, wretched oversight for justice, the victim and public safety.

  12. stewie says:

    Do you really think it even remotely likely that she was going to use the sex toys on the infant? That evidence would certainly not be likely to come into trial, and if you charged a sex offense it wouldn’t likely stand up to 917.
    Some disagree but I find it understandable that this issue was missed by all parties as it isn’t intuitive.  Mistakes happen.