Source: trib.com 4/25/23
The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation wrongly required a Casper man to register and remain on a sex offender registry for over three years.
James Bullard Minter was required to register in Wyoming on a misdemeanor sexual battery charge out of Georgia after he was flagged by customs for ordering a firearm suppressor. But, the high court found, DCI had insufficient evidence that Minter’s crime qualified as a “registerable offense” under the Wyoming Sex Offender Registration Act.
Minter was indicted by a grand jury in Effingham County, Georgia, on one count of felony child molestation of a 9-year-old in 1998, the ruling states. He pleaded not guilty.
The state of Georgia offered Minter a plea agreement nearly two years later, which reduced the charge against him to misdemeanor sexual battery with a recommended sentence of one year. He pleaded guilty under this agreement.
Minter was not required to register as a sex offender in Georgia, which was confirmed by the state’s registry, the ruling states.
In August 2007, he relocated to Gillette.
“When he arrived in Wyoming, he researched his obligation to register as a sex offender and found a Wyoming Supreme Court case that he read as saying only those convicted of a felony sex offense had to register in Wyoming,” the ruling states. “Because he was not convicted of a felony, Mr. Minter believed he was not required to register in Wyoming.”
Minter moved south to Casper three years later. He lived there another nine years without registering.
A U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent notified DCI that it had intercepted a firearm suppressor addressed to Minter in 2019.
His criminal history was reviewed as a result. A DCI supervisor emailed the Natrona County Sheriff’s Office in December 2019, stating “… they recommend that he register until we can get court documents. Even though it’s a misdemeanor he will still have to register,” the ruling states.