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Sargent Binkley


September 10, 2007 by Dan

Sargent Binkley graduated high school with me in 1993 – he was a history nut, athlete, and all-around decent guy. He worked hard, was an Eagle Scout, and gained admission to West Point. After graduating he served in Bosnia, Central America, and elsewhere, becoming an airborne Ranger in the process. Along the way he smashed his hip, and there the story turns tragic. The Army medical community misdiagnosed him, overprescribed opiates for his pain…he became addicted to those painkillers. He’scurrently sitting in a Redwood City jail awaiting sentencing after pleading no contest to robbing two Walgreens pharmacies in early 2006. He left each store with a bag full of Percocet and the unloaded gun he’d used..

California is one of those states with harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws. In Sargent’s case, he’s facing a mandatory ten years on top of whatever sentence the judge decides on (probably two years), for at least twelve. This is time that must be spent in state prison; it can’t be supervised drug rehab, supervised parole, or anything useful. The judge can’t do anything about this – even though Sargent turned himself in to the police pled no contest, harmed no one, took no money, and was in the thrall of an addiction that was, partially, due to Army misdiagnosis, all of the mitigating ability rests in the hands of the Santa Clara County DA. District Attorneys have different motivations than judges, and in this case he’s leaning towards the punitive.

Some of my classmates have decided to do what we can to help him. We spent the weekend building, and we’re trying to publicize his case and convince the DA to mitigate his sentence. The only thing that may change the DA’s mind is public pressure. The website has templates for letter-writing, contact information for phone calls, and more about the case. If you have a few minutes, a cell phone, and a stamp, I’d appreciate it if you’d help him out by writing a short letter or making a quick phone call. Even if you don’t know the guy (you’ll have to take my word that he’s a decent fellow), you may be opposed to our harsh and capricious mandatory minimum sentencing laws, or you may think that someone who’s sacrificed much for his country deserves a fair shake. Either way, we appreciate your support.

Also – if you’ve got a blog or if you’re press, please write a post, link to the site, and help spread the word. It’s best if people from Santa Clara County get involved, but all the support we can get would be really helpful.


  1. Pat Fox says:

    Don’t give up the ship!
    Write to your elected officials.
    Send Capt Binkley a Christmas card so that he knows you support him. He has no internet access in jail.

  2. Robyn says:

    Please write to the Judge requesting that Sarge be allowed on bail to go to rehab pending trial.. He will be in court on 2 Jan 08.
    Honorable Thang Barrett
    270 Grant Avenue
    Palo Aalto, CA 94306

    Thank you.

  3. Dan says:

    Quick note – most of the current information is over at Thanks for the support!

  4. SFC says:

    I was stationed with this guy a while back and he is a liar! All of his claims are false and he will be punished for these acts!!

  5. J. Teresa says:

    I am a recently retired reporter who is writing about Sarge Binkley’s case in my current book’s segment on mandatory minimum sentencing. I think he is a perfect poster child for the insanity and inhumanity of mandatory minimum sentencing. In some states, he would be eligibile for Drug Court. treatment programs.

    That said, I am appalled at the SFC post because it cannot be true and seems very vengeful. As a reporter, I know that very few can know which claims are false and which arent and those that do, don’t talk about it publicly or if they do, they eagerly back up their claims with facts that can be double checked.

    I suspect this writer is someone with a frustrated desire for blood. I would take what they say with a huge pot of salt,folks.

  6. RAM says:

    The trial is over and Binkley was convicted of everything. You didn’t mention that Binkley injured his hip during a barroom brawl and really isn’t a war hero. Although the Army did contribute a lot to his addiction, it was Binkley who declined to attend rehab sessions on two occasions. Also, really nice guys don’t don ski masks, arm themselves with automatic pistols and terrorize his victims to get drugs.

  7. SP says:

    What saddens me is some people will confuse this disgrace of an officer with soldiers that served honorably and actually suffer from PTSD as a result of combat. He neither served honorably nor served in combat – bottom line is that he is an opportunist using current feelings about PTSD-suffering veterans to avoid taking responsibility for his own actions.

  8. Brad K. says:

    I never ever post but this time I will,Thanks alot for the great blog.

  9. Nic Gambs says:

    Re: Sargent Binkley, in care of…

    I was a CA PC Commitment at the penal institution which Sargent Binkley served some of his penal sentence at for the commission of his robery. Sarg was a very good buddy. I met him while in custody with him at the inferred penal institution and we were placed on the same housing unit. Both Sarg and I were of the same in-house penal commitment and our crimes were somewhat similar. However, I have not served in the armed forces. One of my routine tasks at the institution was that of a peer advocate, whom was helping other detainees to secure their release from custody. Although Sargent Binkley didnt need my expertise to file a writ of habeas corpus, he became a good friend who I conversed with amicably every day at the institution for the six months of time Sargent completed, as he had opted for release through an outpatient program, known as a suspended sentence. From the day I met Sargent in about 2009, not a day went by where I had a problem with him. At the institution, Sargent pushed me a little bit to do physical exercise and he was always available for good conversation about his experiences and mine and as to how we could help each other. Its such a shame, how his court and DA mishandled his case. From what he told me about it, he had been appropriated too much time for his acts. The court ruled for Sargent to serve 24 years in an institution. From what he told me about the robery, he was charged for the commission of two roberys, when he only did one. He was charged with two counts of armed robbery (the gun wasnt loaded) when in fact he had robbed two people for the same thing at the same time. So, in essence the so-called enhanced count of an extra armed robbery also carried a 12 year sentence as so did the first count. Sarg was a good buddy and very sharp. He had good hiegene, he was honest, he took care of his self with physical fitness and diet and he did not allow the slander which has subsequently been defamed against him to cause him to rot away in confinement in the institution. He was a fighter and a good role model for others at the institution. Now that Sargent is out of the military and has been released from custody, these anti Sargent naysayers need to step off of his case. From my memory Sargent has served about 2.5 years of his 24 year sentence which should have been no more than a 4 year sentence. He has been punished adequately, leaning on the severe side, not only in a jail but in a severely unconstitutional California institution which has been deemed by the US Department of Justice to have greatly fallen short of clinical standards…see 2006 (“CRIPA”) report to then Governer Schwartzanegger. The antisocial environment at the said institution is worse than prison. Its more violent and Sarg was placed in close quarters with severly violent offenders. This violent and negative environment did not serve Sarg’s case. He didnt belong there. It was obvious. Out of the crowds of hundreds of detainees at the institution who came from prison, I would see Sarg. I would see this bright, smiling, posative and unbroken man who stood out amongst the rest. It wasnt him, the institution, that is. This penal institution as not named, was built to warehouse the most violent offenders in California of whom were brought into custody from the CDC which is now the CDCR. Sarg was far from violent and did not present a condition of a threat, attempt or act of harm upon another, while in custody; see the CA Wellfare and Institutions Code. As far as I could see, Sargent has been rehabilitated and has been adequately punished and I just cant see where these naysaying Sargent haters are coming from. Its nonsense. Sarg is a good person and now it is his turn to enter into the life of his own making just like all other free Americans. How good does Sarg have to be. No one is perfect and everyone has done something wrong, but not everyone gets caught. Three cheers for the hard work that Sargent accomplished at the institution!

  10. kjhfuhhvbsh says:

    Sarg is the man.

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