Sixth Circuit rejects Michigan residency & premises restrictions

By Jonathan H. Adler . . . Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that recent amendments to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) are unconstitutional because they impose retroactive punishment on sex offenders in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that amendments to Michigan’s SORA increased the severity of its requirements after their convictions imposed retroactive punishment. In John Does #1-5 v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit agreed.

Judge Alice M. Batchelder wrote for the court, joined by Judges Gilbert S. Merritt and Bernice B. Donald. Her opinion for the court begins.

Like many states, Michigan has amended its Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) on a number of occasions in recent years for the professed purpose of making Michigan communities safer and aiding law enforcement in the task of bringing recidivists to justice. Thus, what began in 1994 as a non-public registry maintained solely for law enforcement use . . . has grown into a byzantine code governing in minute detail the lives of the state’s sex offenders . . . Over the first decade or so of SORA’s existence, most of the changes centered on the role played by the registry itself. In 1999, for example, the legislature added the requirement that sex offenders register in person (either quarterly or annually, depending on the offense) and made the registry available online, providing the public with a list of all registered sex offenders’ names, addresses, biometric data, and, since 2004, photographs. . . . Michigan began taking a more aggressive tack in 2006, however, when it amended SORA to prohibit registrants (with a few exceptions . . .) from living, working, or “loitering”1 within 1,000 feet of a school. . . . In 2011, the legislature added the requirement that registrants be divided into three tiers, which ostensibly correlate to current dangerousness, but which are based, not on individual assessments, but solely on the crime of conviction. . . . The 2011 amendments also require all registrants to appear in person “immediately” to update information such as new vehicles or “internet identifiers” (e.g., a new email account). . . . Violations carry heavy criminal penalties.

The Plaintiffs in this case—identified here only as five “John Does” and one “Mary Doe”—are registered “Tier III” sex offenders currently residing in Michigan. It is undisputed on appeal that SORA’s 2006 and 2011 amendments apply to them retroactively. That law has had a significant impact on each of them that reaches far beyond the stigma of simply being identified as a sex offender on a public registry. As a result of the school zone restrictions, for example, many of the Plaintiffs have had trouble finding a home in which they can legally live or a job where they can legally work. These restrictions have also kept those Plaintiffs who have children (or grandchildren) from watching them participate in school plays or on school sports teams, and they have kept Plaintiffs from visiting public playgrounds with their children for fear of “loitering.” Plaintiffs are also subject to the frequent inconvenience of reporting to law enforcement in person whenever they change residences, change employment, enroll (or unenroll) as a student, change their name, register a new email address or other “internet identifier,” wish to travel for more than seven days, or buy or begin to use a vehicle (or cease to own or use a vehicle).

Read full story in the Washington Post blog Volokh Conspiracy

You may also be interested in the AP story published in The Detroit News

Here are the ACLU FAQS.

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65 Thoughts to “Sixth Circuit rejects Michigan residency & premises restrictions”

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  1. Lin

    This is great news! Now, I just wish they would find that an individual assessment should be done before placing anyone on the registry and it should not be public.

    1. Penny

      I agree wholeheartedly!

  2. Fred

    The Justices said two things.

    1. It is unconstitutional to apply new restrictions to someone after they were convicted.

    2. The registry is a form of punishment.

    Both of these sound like grounds to abolish the law to me. I wonder if these will result in immediate release to those who are incarnated for registry violations. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in coming weeks and months.

    When i was convicted in 2000 I was required to register for 10 years. Then in 2006 they changed it to 25 years . If this ruling goes into effect, I should be off the registry immediately, if I am understanding correctly. However from the wording the Justices used I am under the impression they find the registry as a whole to be a form of punishment so therefore it should be abolished for all, regardless of when they were convicted. This should also result in a domino effect across the nation as it was found unconstitutional in a Federal court not a state court.

    Continue to follow this law until you have further information. Do not assume anything. The government will likely take steps to put a hold on this ruling while they file an appeal, but remember this is a very positive sign that the tide is turning in our favor. We must not let up now. Keep the pressure on.

    1. antiestablishmentarianism

      I wouldn’t necessarily assume that registration will completely go away with the punitive declaration. Many individual state supreme courts have already made that determination. What the punitive designation does though is prevents ex post facto punishment and guarantees due process. Your change to 25 years would be ex post facto. In my case, I was never directed to register in a court of law, so due process would be my fight. Most states are incorporating due process in anticipation of the laws being declared punitive though, so don’t expect that decision to change a whole lot of things. I anticipate about a third of offenders on the list will be positively affected by such a decision though.

      1. Ron

        Nice to meet you, I wasn’t convicted in a court martial or tried federally, my case stems from a civilian conviction that was adjudicated nearly 12 years ago. I was incarcerated for over a year and subsequently released for probation. I was still technically on military roles which required a redo of my discharge that was eventually set aside and I was retained in service and continued to serve under probationary stipulations. During this time I was deployed, reenlisted and promoted dually while me and my family being mistreated and harassed among the military community for the discovery of my being a registered sex offender in my homeland (US) and while overseas, shamefully. Notwithstanding the maltreatment, politically it was the shady stance of the congress and cabinet offices involved that sometimes had a direct hand on the dictation on the planned outcome of my disposition. I was discharge under secretarial plenary authority covering sex offenders which somehow the secretary’s prerogative. I possessed in hand ,approved retirement orders and comptent recommendations for retirement which were scrupulously suspended to ride the governmental gravy train to roundup registrants and offenders. The administrave conflicts involved were severely and greatly unconstitutional. I was extended temporarily pending a review thru federal court and then discharge when the judge lacked authority to extend. My case was retained and has been in continuance eversince my discharge. In the preliminary, I’ve gone before arbital determinations and received an honorable discharge before the intermediate board and I’m awaiting the final review board which will eventually find itself back in federal court, once I suffer due process and arbital remedies. My fight being a plaintiff is administrative double jeopardy, due process clauses and a ton of other violations circumventing my retirement due to political expediency. Let me know how I can obtain your email and we will go from there.

      2. Bobby

        i was Convicted and sentenced in 1992,before Michigan even had a registry,so i was never sentenced by the judge to register,so i should be removed all together from the registry.

      3. Michael

        One thing you will have to keep in mind here through the 6th courts ruling and the federal court final decision will be the actual wording of it.

        Bear in mind the state registry is what’s questioned here, but keep in mind that there are 100’s of other web sites that compile sex offender names ( I.E. Checkmate, background check sites, even Google)…..Since these sites are located in states other than Michigan, certain restrictions removing them ( certain people in 6th court is upheld) may not apply to those web sites. Thus your never off it somewhere.

        The courts will have to extend the reach to include those sites, or you really won’t be gaining anything.

        Second, no one will actually be removed from registry. Just won’t be on Michigan’s registry. For Public to see that is. That’s not to say you won’t be on the National registry. Yes, there is two.
        keep in mind also That Obama signed into law the International megan’s law. An international registry!!!!
        ( Voice your opinion September 28th on open Live conference call 5 pm pacific time, to get this overturned)

        The 6th courts decision is about ex facto after punishment.
        If your plea and sentence included the fact from the judge that you are to register, and you pled to it. You may get held to it. The core registry was set up for law enforcement
        only when it began. Not public. It won’t go away, wish it did.

        However if you were convicted and sentenced pled to it without judge stating you have to register, or were placed on a particular time frame to register then had it changed, then yes this ruling will definitely affect those.

        New offenders coming into the system, or after 2011, will actually be out of luck. The best defense then is to challenge the assessment and get a risk assessment.
        The argument the AG will also bring up, is whether if an offender knew the restrictions and laws that have been enacted would have prevented them from offending. Made them think twice.
        The AG has cards up his sleeve. I just hope the 6th court
        does not place weight on the AG and consider all the crap.

        Oh Joy huh??

        So there is a lot to really dig into and look at here.

  3. Esther

    I would like to see reform so the SO laws and/or something entirely different be put into place concerning all the rules and regulations that have to be adhered to. I am married to a RSO and living a normal life just isn’t in the books with all the laws put in place currently. Very frustrating.

  4. Dave the RSO

    This is the result of some judges that followed the rules and were unbiased the conclusion it is unconstitutional. Something we all knew was coming now if we can take the fight to the big court and have the same fair and just ruling it will be game over for this abortion of justice called the sex offender registry because the moment it is admitted to be additional punishment is the moment they lose it all.

  5. This is a great event for moment for repeal the sex offender registry. To image that a image a 6th court of appeals had the biblical insight to understand that the principals of this land are still founded on the principals of the bible is unique in todays world.

    Everyone should shout this from every other state that this is unconstitutional and punitive. Anyone that sets up someone this to me should ordeal doesn’t understand the principals our for fathers based all these laws on. That is all the more momentum one needs.

    And remember I know nothing.

  6. shawn coughlin

    This should be challenged in Illinois where I am on the registry and have suffered as have my wife and children due to being punished again every time they change a law.
    I lost my job after 27 years last November and no one will hire me because I am on the list. Please help us!! I used to be able to go to the park and school with my kids but cannot because they changed the law.

  7. Mike

    I’m a 45 year old male with 25 year register and I have not been able to work or find housing so I reside with my folks. I have been through a living hell for 13 years.and this is my only offense I feel the time served is more than sufficient. I’m a born again Christian and I’ve been very productive in society and I think it time to take stand.they have taken are constitutional rights from us and it’s time to fight back. I just recently lost my fiance over this because of the 1000 feet law she got tired of waiting for me to be able to come home and be her husband.and start a new life. If any one has any clue as to what’s coming down the wire please enter mail me thx.. sincerely mike.

  8. Brian

    This is fabulous! The judges really let them have it. I’m fascinated to see how Michigan is going to try to appeal this.

    Now, to figure out how to use this in Louisiana. As a SORNA compliant state, many of the same restrictions exist here. In fact, some provisions are even more restrictive, such as the requirement that I register a vehicle before I drive it. If I’m in a crash on Friday afternoon and need to rent a vehicle, if I drive it before I’ve been to the sheriff I face 2-10 years.

  9. Edward Morales

    During probation attending required treatment classes Connecticut retroactived a law requiring a ten year registration. Shortly before completion they put me on lifetime registration. I requested help from legal services and Connecticut responded with the answer that even though I could be placed in jail if i miss any of my 3 month mail in registrations that it is not a form of punishment. How can this be added when the court already set my punishment and then changed the punishment……? My sentence was in 1990 with probation ending in 2000

  10. Mike

    Can the federal Adam Walsh Act be challenged now as unconstitutional since it required the states to enact unconstitutional laws?

  11. Thomas Emerick

    This is great news, if it sticks I’ll be off in 6 years!

    1. Bill

      The State of Michigan must follow the ruling for now. The good news is the U.S. Supreme court is one member short; so any appeal would probably end up in a 4-4 deadlocked decision. That means the lower courts ruling will continue to be upheld. Incidentally, I stopped by the Sheriff’s office yesterday, and are not sure what to do. They know about the ruling, but are waiting to hear from the State police.

  12. I think that was Hogan that said that on Hogan’s Hero’s. Even that show made some sense.

  13. Bill

    If the State of Michigan decides to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court…they will probably be met by a 4-4 decision. If that is the case, then the 6th circuit court of appeals ruling will stand. As of right now the State of Michigan must abide by the 6th circuit court of appeals ruling. Incidentally, I stopped by the Sheriff’s office yesterday; they knew about the ruling, but didn’t know what to do. They are waiting to hear from the State Police is what I was told.

    1. antiestablishmentarianism

      I’m curious why you think this will be met with a 4-4 decision? This is one of those issues that is not limited to conservatives versus liberals. As mentioned above, the sixth circuit judge is considered a conservative judge and criminal justice reform has traditionally seemed to be more of a liberal cause. On the other hand, standing up for constitutional rights seems to be the cause of all judges regardless of political standing.

    2. Bobby

      Our AG, already asked the 6th circuit to reconsider their ruling, and I HIGHLY doubt,they are going to over rule their own decision.

  14. Bill

    If the State of Michigan decides to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court…they will probably be met by a 4-4 decision. If that is the case, then the 6th circuit court of appeals ruling will stand. As of right now the State of Michigan must abide by the 6th circuit court of appeals ruling. Incidentally, I stopped by the Sheriff’s office yesterday; they knew about the ruling, but didn’t know what to do. They are waiting to hear from the State Police is what I was told.

    1. Fred

      Did you verify? I am being told to continue following the law as written until further notice. The state will likely file a motion to be a stop on the 6th circuit court’s ruling while they start the appeal process. There is a 50/50 chance the motion will be granted.
      Personally I am afraid to do anything differently until I get some kind of official notice in the mail. I am supposed to verify in September and that is what I will do if I don’t hear anything else.

    2. Nick

      This opinion was written by Judge Alice M. Batchelder, who is a very conservative judge.
      She quoted the federalist papers, as well as the right to keep and bear arms. I doubt the Supreme Court will take the case. Don’t see them Confronting their assumption of high recidivism made in the Smith case.

      1. antiestablishmentarianism

        I have to disagree. Our current Supreme Court Justices are not infallible and have never claimed to be. They have overturned their own mistakes in the past just as many previous courts did. This AG has a bit of a political dilemma on his hands though and I’ve seen this in other states. If he brings it back to the Supreme Court and they hear it, which they will (explanation in a moment), then the Smith decision will very likely be overturned and life as an SO as we know it will be forever changed and more evidence based laws will replace the current laws. I’m sure some of them are already sitting on committee waiting for a decision like this. If he doesn’t bring it up on appeal, then the Smith decision will stand and our Supreme Court will actually be powerless to change it without a challenge. What happens depends on the AG’s personal beliefs and who is influencing him. He may decide to avoid appeal to avoid the possibility of overturning Smith. If he does appeal, I believe he knows that Smith will be overturned and he believes that’s the right thing to do. Appealing it to the Supreme Court is the politically safe way to advocate for this change.

        Now, I said I’d explain why the Supreme Court will definitely hear it. It’s an appeal by an AG of a state. It’s almost an unwritten rule that appeals from AGs must be heard in the next court. If the appeal was from the John Does and Mary Doe, the Supreme Court might pass it up, but since it’s from the AG, they pretty much have to take it.

      2. Fred

        That made a lot of sense. Thank you for sharing that perspective.
        I feel confident that the supreme court will overturn past rulings and find the registry to be a form of punishment. This will end registries nationwide.

        Do you know how much time Michigan’s AG has to begin the appeal process? As a Michigan registrant, I am in a state of limbo. I have no idea if or when this opinion by the 6th will go into effect.

  15. Flynt Morrison

    I was convicted in 2005 from an offense committed in 2001, and was only required to register for 15 years post release and when I was released that was changed to lifetime. I served my time and am being continuously punished for a crime committed at the age of 16. My life has been ruined and I have been given no real chance at redemption to date. I have overcome certain obstacles but the reality remains I am a marked man for life and I am labeled forever. The registry laws are unnecessary because they don’t make the community any safer for those who want to reoffend in any way, not just sexually. It’s a pacifier the government has been feeding society for years. In addition, sex offenders have the lowest recidivism rates of all crimes and the harshest penalties even after incarceration. Where’s the logic in that?????

  16. Ron

    The subliminal schematics are very clear from the intent of the registry, the following grievances and disparities are apparent in most cases:

    1. The dismantling of familial or co-habitating relationships
    2. The disenfranchisement from employment prospects
    3. The cyclic atmosphere and intent to keep registrants in constant fear and misery.
    4. The sporadic change and frequent adjustment of laws to garner ambiguous convictions or violations.
    5. The continual uncertainty of dwelling and housing provisions, resulting in lack of residence and near- permanent homelessness.
    6. The lack of clarity or uniformity in the law leading to confusion from its administrators, enforcers and assumed friends if the court.
    7. The propensity to likely produce anti-social or develop detached social inaction.

    These are the most announced chief complaints I have observed from registrants and their families.

    The parallel to change are events and monumental challenges such as these.
    For jurisprudent professionals to blindly apply something that originally had no validity and now capture an epiphany that the same is wholeheartedly unconstitutional and punitive was just periodical matter of time and simple science. I have a precedental case in federal court, challenging the unlawful discharge from military service under the premise of a unrelated civilian felony sex offense conviction. Through rebuttal I was allowed to continue to serve after incarceration and I have done so for over a decade until woefully so, the congress, POTUS and the appropriate secretary of my service determined I should no longer serve even though I physically possessed retirement orders in hand and done all I was expected to do post-conviction. I was deployed numerous time as well as as promoted twice yet to strangely be discharged.
    I was recently upgraded to honorable discharge after a malicious characterization of service and the fight is still on in federal court on my 7th continuance before trial. This administration is outwardly a shameful one as well as he sitting congress. I’ve done much to protect this country and even was trusted with guns, people and property as a felon 10 plus years plus and past. That alone should be resounding rehabilitation. I’m amazed at the progress against this grandstanding government. God bless America !

    1. mfjbat

      Sir, first of all thank you for your service for this, yes still, great country of ours. Yeah, when they need you at the Wall, everything’s OK. You get to the end of your big tour and they pull the rug right out from underneath you. You have demonstrated your willingness to not give up in the midst of a unmatched fight and that is mission oriented point-on. Plus you speak pretty dern well. You have experienced these travesties from the ground up and I would like your comments on Michigan’s possible future strategies: Will they wait for number 9 in the SCOTUS, or will they stand down? What could these possible scenarios mean for SORs in the long run? I wish the best for you in your current legal wrangling.

    2. greg

      WOW!! what a fighter YOU are!!!
      THank YOU for your service Sir!!!!

      1. Ron

        Thank you ! We can’t sit down and say nothing I live nearly shame free in a state where I was lowered to level 1 and was recently dismissed from registry in my state of conviction after a 10 year stint with not even an ounce of objection from the prosecutor, maybe due to my proven continued military service. But what boggles me is he brethren left behind who have no chance to reinvent their very own lives against the corrupt and conscript. At every chance to seize relative freedom grab the goat by the horns no matter how rowdy the ride. Stare tyranny and totalitarian thinking in its face. I had a inquisitive woman who was processing my paper at the sheriffs office ask; ” you are a sex offender and you are still in the military???” And my paused equally egged reply was , ” does a bear crap in the woods or on top of your desk? Lol that’s the world we live in, all the rhetoric, laughing, lambasting, libel you can lull at a person so adjudged until the ” no never not me ” happens to you with a likely reply of ” how could they do such a thing ! This is injustice, ignorance and illegal. Hear how hypocrites once afoul fall in favor of change. The best recourse that Mich. should take is a total revamping of established polices and adopt models like states that understand this hateful hyperbolic scheme by keeping level 1/2 off the public registry and only retaining predatory and defined dangerous person on by an actual necessity of law and to give a permanent pathway for one to seek removal of the same said requirements within in a methodical and sensibly fair time frame. I see quite a few cases around the country grab traction within the circuits and the fight most go to the front line instead of sporadic skirmishes. Insist on dialogue in every media outlet possible. Ask questions in community meetings that lead to further inclusion on differing ideals. I feel sad and undeserving at times of how great my life is compared to someone else’s by no means am I a smug or a braggart. I fight in furor for every person I can not matter how scorned. By looking at me you would consider me to be an offender by hearing my experience you would say how the hell did you go through all of that? But beyond the bs is a layer of straight love and laughter, you gotta have fun living this life, no matter who’s looking.

    3. antiestablishmentarianism

      I would like to know more about your plight, sir. I was convicted under similar circumstances under article 134 at a General Court Martial, but was not given due process on the registry. I was never directed at trial to register and since my state has declared it punitive, I have been looking to fight the status. I’d like to know what law firm you are using since finding lawyers with military experience seems to be rather difficult. Admin has my permission to give you my real name and email.

  17. Matt

    Indiana laws on RSO is also full of restrictions, I whom had 1 offense and has done his probation time with no issues, passed all lie detector test feel that individuals that have only 1 offense should be given a second chance in life! The judge knew there was more to my case and my friends and family believe that I will never commit another offense of any kind. I feel and know this to be a part of my life. We all stumble in life and make poor decisions. It’s what we do moving forward that makes us whole again.

    1. antiestablishmentarianism

      Matt, I’m in Indiana as well and I feel we have it better than a lot of states. We have a statewide range restriction of 1000 feet from schools, day cares, parks, and other places children congregate. As far as the “loitering” laws, the state has not passed any such measure, but some localities have. I have been to my daughter’s swim meet, the swimming pool, and have taken my girls to the park with no problems. When other states have larger range restrictions as high as 2500 feet with churches and bus stops and include loitering and social media in their restrictions, Indiana seems pretty lame. Plus, the Indiana Supreme Court has already declared SORA punitive in nature in their decision in Wallace (2009), so if they add anything now, we won’t be a part of it.

  18. And another thing...

    Yes people, this is a tremendous ruling by the 6th Circuit. Justices Batchelder, Merritt & Donald stood up for the US Constitution and the rule of law—they stood up for fair and equal justice. These Justices should be hailed as heros in the SO community nationwide. I read the opinion, Justice Batchelder’s reasoning, logic and application of the law was spot on. Sex offender laws is in effect PUNISHMENT and do in fact violate: Ex Post Facto (when applied retroactively), Due Process (Substantive & Procedural) and Equal Protection. One could even say Crual & Unusal Punishment. I seriously hope this ruling causes a nationwide tsunami of similar litigation. Now, here are a few interesting scenarios to think about: Will the AG of Michigan appeal this ruling to US Supreme Court? If so, will there still be 8 Justices on the Court or will the case not get there until after this current presidential election is over and the new Prez gets to appoint a liberal or conservative to the Court. Does John Roberts recuse himself since he argued the Smith case in 2003? Will Justice Kennedy get confronted about his false (my opinion, bald face lie) assertion of a “Frigthening and High” recidivism rate among SOs? Or, and here is a real interesting thought, could the Court decline to hear the case if the AG does appeal and thereby allow the ruling to affect on MI SOs? Chew on that one for a minute. I ask because I just can’t see the Court NOT affirming the judgement of the 6th Circuit on this on. Yes, they overturned the AK Court (AK court ruled AK’s SO laws unconstitutional) back in ’03 with the Smith decision holding AK’s model non-punitive. But that was then, this is now, and a person would have to be either mentally retarded or just hell bent on keeping these laws in place to say that they ARE NOT punishment today. So this is going to be very interesting going forward. I really want the AG of Michigan to appeal this ruling to the US Supreme Court and for this Court to go ahead and finally uphold the US Constitution on Ex Post Facto, Due Process and Equal Protection. But if they hear this case and overturn the 6th Circuit ruling then my friends there is something very ominous going on behind the scene in this Country bigger than what we can see and if so I predict that this country will be a “Totalitarian” state within 20 years.

  19. All these comments on here are good on here and when authorities make grave mistakes like this they don’t want to be a laughing stock. Would you if you were in their shoes?
    These are hardships some didn’t have to go thru. talking about housing, other peoples lives, reputations ruined, family lives turned upside, but still respect for the law is respect for the law.
    All this reminds me how some laws can be above the law. I wonder if cussing is considered breaking the law today and I reserve that comment for another time.

  20. Emil S

    Like hundreds of thousands who made a mistake in their life to end up in the registry and haven’t done anything like that since then, I am waiting for this whole sex offender registry to be abolished soon so we could get back to a little more normal life without all the restrictions about finding a job, place to live, having our own family, etc.

    1. peter

      what’s really ironic is, the great state of nj. the state where this all originated from, has since stated in several law journals the need and waste of taxpayer to continue running the website

  21. Talk about the Spanish inquisition was that in America or was it dreamed up. Remember I know nothing.

  22. susan bollier

    Texas needs this ….. my brother was falsely accused on a he said she said case . The whole trail was bull crap and now he is ruined for life . I hope the supreme court gets it and throws it all out .

  23. Bill

    I wonder how long it will take for a judgement to be made now that it’s been remanded back to the lower court?

  24. greg

    This is great news!!!!
    Finally, some common sense has been used!!!

  25. Sikovital

    I am surprised the state let this go as far as it did. Here in Ga the same thing was happening, school bus stops were exclusion zones as well which made complying near impossible. The legislature simply re-wrote the laws which made it apply to those crimes committed after its implementation. I hope it stands in Mich. as is, it is unfathomable that some of the defenders of law argued that people have no right to work or live where they choose. It would be interesting to hear after how far beyond the findings in smith, what the justification of these punitive measures would be.

  26. Fair & Balanced

    And let me offer this tid bit of insight on the assertion of a high recidivism rate put forward by proponents of SO laws. First, probably 85-95% of all states in the US have in their Criminal Code what is referred to as an “Enhancement” statute. Texas, for example has an Enhancement statute (CA calls theirs Three Strikes) for prior convictions that calls for an increase in the punishment/sentence when it is found that a person has two or more prior felony convictions. For example, if you are on trial for a robbery, the primary offense, but you have a prior burglary, TX will put that prior conviction on your primary indictment and if you are found guilty of that robbery charge, the prior conviction will kick in to enhance your punishment/sentence from say, 15 years to 30 years. Stay with me because I am going to show you something here. Now, proponents of SO laws say people with sex offenses have a high recidivist rate, some cite as high as 80%! Ok so let us define “re-cid-i-vist”. It simply means a “CONVICTED criminal who reoffends, especially repeatedly”. Now, lets put these two things side by side for an analysis: ENHANCEMENT OF A SENTENCE FOR A PRIOR CONVICTION and HIGH RECIDIVISM. Now, it stands to reason, at least to me, that if a person is convicted a crime and has prior convictions (especially for a sex offense) and his/her sentence is enhanced, then that person is probably going to have a long vacation in a 9×11 prison cell. I can speak to this personally because my sex crime in 1983 was enhanced by two prior convictions, a drug possession from 1979 and a burglary charge from 1974 and I was given 55 years in TDC of which I did 20 straight years. I went to TDC in 1985 and did not breathe free air until 2005! And that is the case with everybody I knew that had prior convictions on their primary indictments. In TX if you have one or two priors with your primary offense, believe me, you can look to get at a minimum 30 years in TDC and do about 18-20 years on that. So what you have are guys coming out of prison with an average age of 48-55 years old. I went in at 28 and came out at 48 1/2. I am now 60 and believe me, I don’t want no trouble, not even a traffic ticket! And that is the case with everybody I know coming out of prison in their late years. So it stands to reason that proponents of this high recidivism tag has got to be alluding to a rapidly revolving prison door for people who have committed sex offenses for there to be a high recidivist rate to be happening. I mean, how else could there be such a thing? State prosecutors and Judges would have to be in on this rapidly revolving prison door too by not following statutory law and not enhancing the sentences for repeat sex offenders—right? [Wrong! Believe me, prosecutors are like wild west gunslingers, they want that notch (high conviction rate w/ long sentences) on their belt.] These people would have to be returning to communities with jet speed, you know, 6 months to a year in order to be able to commit more sex offenses only to be re-arrested and re-sent to prison for this high recidivism to going on—am I making sense here? And if not then, please, if someone points out the flaw(s) in my analysis here I will sit down somewhere and shut my month. But I don’t think I’m wrong and I will go further and say unequivocally say that proponents of this high recidivism tag are not liers; indeed, they are damn liers.

    1. Fred

      That sounds right to me. That is some scary stuff.

  27. Kenneth

    My conviction (MI) came in late 2004 and when I was originally put on the registry, it was for 25 yrs. and I had an actual date that I’d be removed from the registry. Then, in 2011, my term of registration was automatically changed to life.

    I don’t mean to seem naive but, does this ruling mean that I and others like me may get our original release dates back?

    1. Fred

      I am in MI too, was convicted in 2000 and ordered to 10 years on the registry. Like you that was extended when I had only a couple years left. I originally would had been off 6 years ago. I had been trying to find out for the last 9 days if this ruling means I will be off it soon OR if the attorney General is to file a motion to put the ruling on hold while he files an appeal, how much time is he allowed to do that? Nobody seems to have an answer and this state of limbo is making me anxious and uneasy. Is it too good to be true? I am sure looking forward to finding out. If and when I am free of the registry restrictions, I vow to make it my mission to keep fighting for every registrant in the country until the registry is abolished.

      1. Still in fear**

        I was convicted in 2004 in the state of Georgia and was ordered 10 yrs probation and registry well it is now 2016 and I’m still having to go to do yearly annuals. I’ve completed probation and all but because of the 2011 new law that requires sex offenders to register for life has somehow effect my getting off registry and I’m sure I’m not alone.

      2. Bobby

        I am in Michigan as well,but my conviction was in 1992,before Michigan even had a registry. I was put on it in 1995 for 25 years,then like you guys, put on it for life. it’s been 21 years now or 24, since they moved my rgistration date from 95 to 92.

        Ms Aukerman, told me,that since i have had no other convictions,and since the registry did not exist in 1992, i should be removed all together. If not i will be returned to 25 years,which will be in 2020,but the chances are i will just be removed,since they put me on it retroactively.

  28. Nick

    Over a week and still no reaction from the state.
    The media cycle has moved on to other stories.
    Had quarterly registration today and it was business as usual.
    This ruling will loom large over the Temelkoski case currently scheduled before the Michigan Supreme Court.

    1. Fred

      Hello Nick,

      I did some research last night. This may not be accurate, but from my understanding, the state has up to 30 days to file an appeal after the Circuit Court ruling. It has been 10 days now. Then after they file the appeal, they have up to 60 days to submit 40 copies of all their statements. So that is a potential 3 months of just submitting paper work before the appeal. process even starts. It is depressing how slowly the wheels turn in our legal system. In the meantime, I guess it is business as usual as if there never was a Federal Circuit Court ruling.

      1. rwvnral

        There really are NO appellate options for the state at this point. They can ask for the same panel to reverse itself (most unlikely) or they can ask for a hearing En Banc (where the judges of the entire Sixth Circuit form a panel to review the case). There is NO appeal of anything to the United States Supreme Court. There are merely petitions to be heard (more commonly known as petitions for Writs of Certiorari). The Sup. Ct. gets a little fewer than 20,000 such petitions a year. The Sup. Ct. grants less than 100.

        Nothing is likely to happen in Michigan until a new decision is rendered below (in the court where the matter originated). That is the present disposition of the case. The Sixth Circuit has made its ruling. And unless that ruling is disturbed in accordance with the deadlines, and also consequent to a revised ruling of the panel or a new ruling of the full bench, the case goes right back where it started. Only, now, the lower court MUST render a final order that is in line with the Sixth Circuit’s opinion. And, yes, any new order from below may be appealed back to the Sixth if either side feels that the judge has misapplied the Circuit court’s holding either as a matter of law or as applied to whatever facts are before the court.

      2. Fred

        Thank you. That is the information myself and many others had been waiting to read. That puts it into perspective and sounds very encouraging.

        Is there a time frame that this is supposed to happen within?
        “the lower court MUST render a final order that is in line with the Sixth Circuit’s opinion. “

  29. Eric McWethy

    I was convicted on 2/27/1995
    The registry came into effect on 10/1/1995
    I have since been convicted of three seperate registration violation serving a total of 28 months for what appears now to be unconstitutional covictions
    If the court invalidated the application of the registry to people convicted before its enactment
    My name is Eric McWethy #251414

    1. Fred

      I am wondering that myself. There are countless good people in prison or jail right now for nothing other than “failing to comply”. That is absurd. I am hopeful that if this ruling goes into effect, their convictions will be reversed and they will be immediately released.

      On another note, when I see messages like yours, I literally feel scared. It is a reminder of how easily we can be returned to prison for nothing other than forgetting to report something vague. For example, maybe I am breaking the law by posting this message and not reporting this “internet identifier”? I am about 95% sure I am not breaking the law, but who knows what they will spin just to get a conviction. I am tired of living in this fear.

  30. Bobby

    I was convicted back in 1992 before Michigan even had a registry,and then put on it in 1995,because I was on parole at the time, I got off parole in1996, so in my opinion I should not of even been put on the stupid registry in the first place.

    1. I’m Spencer and I was convicted in 1988; but the alleged offense occurred in 1987 which was an set up case. And I am in Alabama!!!! Where I am going though hell behind this SOL!!! But I would like to know is there any MONEY!!!!!! Behind going though hell with this stuff????

  31. Kenneth

    Just heard on my local news that the Michigan AG will appeal the 6th Circuit’s ruling based on a Tennessee law that requires RSOs to wear electronic monitors….anybody???

    1. rwvnral

      Just a lot of noise right now. The AG’s office is going to make a big show of this because of the shear shock over the ruling. When all else fails, bluster is the last resort. It is possible that the AG is posturing in the hopes of getting En Banc review. That’s about the only game left since it is a very difficult feat to convince a unanimous panel to reverse itself. Be patient. This is a tricky patch and we will let you know when the coast is clear.

      1. LLH

        any new information about this ruling

    2. Bobby Smela

      Ms Aukerman, from the ACLU, told me today to just try to be patient and what for the final ruling. This is just the AG’s way of stalling. The 6th Circuit is NOT going to reverse it’s own decision.

  32. Tom wilds

    I was convicted of a csc 3 attempted. In 2007. I was sentenced to 180 days and 60 months probation and 25 yr registry. In which it said after ten yrs I could petition to be removed if no other convictions. After 90 days in jail I was released and put on house arrest. And was on probation maybe four years. It was mainly they wanted their money. I was in a sex offender class for the first year and completed it. Then in 2011 they changed the law and I have to register for life. Which I felt was a double jeopardy case but no one would fight it.
    I’m self employed and lose jobs all the time do to me being a SO. I chalk it up and move on but tonight my daughter came home and said her friend said I was a rapist. My daughter doesn’t even know what that means. It’s no just me being punished after I served my jail time. It’s my family. I can’t take the kids to the lake to swim or the county fair. My kids are being punished every day. And in my case I have full custody of my kids and the mother has nothing to do with them. That should prove I’m not a threat but the state still won’t let me be a parent. I mean as far as family activity.

  33. Mike Mccurdy

    Hi rwvnral,

    Is there any updated news regarding the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
    of August 25, 2016 ?

    I realized the state was going to re-appeal, but in a low grade way.


  34. michael mccurdy

    Hi rwvnral,

    Any update on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit of
    August 25, 2016?


  35. Kenneth

    Just heard this morning that the Michigan AG has made an emergency appeal to SCOTUS with regard to the decision made by the 6th. circuit in August. Any real chance that the court will actually grant a stay (or at least hear this appeal) and not force Michigan to dismantle/roll back the law?