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Janice Files Lawsuit that Challenges Denial of Military Base Access to Registrant Retirees

Source: ACSOL

A lawsuit was filed today in a federal district court in California challenging the denial of access to a military base of a military retiree solely because he is required to register.  The lawsuit claims that the military retiree’s right to due process was violated when he was denied access without prior notice in November 2021 to Vandenberg Air Force Base which is located near Santa Barbara, California.  The lawsuit asks the court to require the commander of Vandenberg Air Force base to allow the plaintiff access so that the plaintiff can receive the benefits of his retirement, including but not limited to, medical care, shopping at the base exchange and commissary and access to MWR programs. 

The plaintiff in this case is 75 years old and a retired Air Force officer who served in the military for 20 years.  After his retirement, the plaintiff worked on an Air Force base as a civilian employed by a base contractor.  The plaintiff was convicted of one sex offense in 1992 for conduct that did not occur on a military base and that did not involve military personnel or military dependents.

“Military retirees who are also required to register are being denied access to military bases throughout the nation without prior notice,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “As a result, military retirees are being denied their retirement benefits.  Today’s lawsuit is expected to be the first of many challenges to these unlawful actions.”

According to the lawsuit, the denial of plaintiff’s base access is based upon a policy set forth in a Department of Defense manual that allows base commanders to prohibit individuals currently required to register as a sex offender from entering a military base.  That policy, however, also states that a base commander’s authority must not be exercised in an arbitrary, unpredictable, or discriminatory manner.

The lawsuit states that military retirees have a “constitutionally cognizable and protected property interest” in their military benefits.  The lawsuit further states that denying military retirees access to military bases deprives retirees of those benefits because they cannot access military bases where those benefits are available.

“The denial of Plaintiff’s base access was arbitrary and not based upon either reasoned grounds or judiciously applied, in that it was based solely upon Plaintiff’s requirement to register as a sex offender,” according to the lawsuit.  The lawsuit emphasizes that the Plaintiff had access to multiple military bases for more than 40 years and during that time, Plaintiff’s actions were lawful and without incident.

Download a PDF of the lawsuit:

Lawsuit that Challenges Denial of Military Base Access to Registrant Retirees – May 2022

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