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Michigan files supplemental brief replying to solicitor general

By Robin . . . Claiming that the Solicitor General’s amicus brief is unpersuasive, Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, has filed a supplemental brief in reply.

The Solicitor General filed a brief in early July at the request of the Supreme Court which sought to hear the federal government’s perspective on Snyder v. Doe (a pending petition from Michigan seeking to overturn a unanimous Sixth Circuit decision that held much of Michigan’s sex offender registry enhancements unconstitutional in August, 2016).

In view of the Solicitor General’s arguments against granting Michigan’s petition for a Writ of Certiorari, Schuette’s brief opposing the SG’s recommendation can be summarized as follows:

1) The Sixth Circuit’s decision condemns offense-based registration and therefore implicates the federal SORNA and other state SORAs in the following ways:

  • First, the Sixth Circuit concluded that offense based registration is irrational.
  • Second, the Sixth Circuit concluded that residential restrictions are overbroad and irrational.
  • Third, the Sixth Circuit thought that frequent inperson reporting is irrational.

Here, Michigan is suggesting that the Solicitor General’s recommendation is based upon a flawed appreciation of the Sixth Circuit’s suppositions about offense-based registration requirements which are presumed in both the state SORA and federal SORNA statutes.

2) The deep jurisprudential splits on SORA laws are not attributable to case-specific differences because:

  • The splits among the lower courts are not attributable to statutory differences.
  • Judicial disagreement over legislative facts does not erase the conflicts.

Here, Michigan is claiming that opposing outcomes in federal district courts are not case-specific but are actually interpretations of constitutional law that are substantively opposite on similar grounds. In simple terms, there are (in Michigan’s opinion) real differences of opinion about what is and what isn’t constitutional regarding SORA laws. Those differences need to be resolved and Michigan’s petition provides the Court with a suitable opportunity to do that (again, Michigan’s opinion).

3) The federal government declines to say that Michigan’s federal funding is not at risk.

Here, Michigan is essentially restating its previous arguments in support of the petition while alleging, inter alia, that the SG’s amicus brief skirts the state’s concerns about how the Sixth Circuit’s ruling will impact Michigan’s compliance with federal SORNA requirements:

The federal government notably declines to say that Michigan’s federal funding is safe. Instead, it hedges, saying that it “may well be the case” that Michigan can continue to receive federal funds, that Michigan “may” be able to “reenact in modified form a subset of the requirements” held punitive and enforce them retroactively, that elimination of Michigan-unique SORA features “may” be sufficient to eliminate the Sixth Circuit’s concerns, and—tellingly—that “even if the State chooses not to” (cannot?) reinstate “the retroactive application of the few relevant features in SORA that are required by SORNA,” Michigan would “not necessarily” lose federal funding.

It’s important to keep proper perspective in mind when attempting to discern the legal ramblings of attorneys about complex constitutional questions. But that’s only part of the issue when those questions are filtered through the Court’s petition process. In reading Michigan’s most recent brief, one might get the mistaken impression that Michigan is on the other side of the key questions presented. But that certainly is not the case. Michigan is merely attempting to attract the Court’s attention in the hope of getting its petition granted in an effort to overturn the Sixth Circuit’s decision.

So here’s the lay of the land: Michigan wants the petition granted because it expects the high Court to overturn the outcome below. Does’ attorneys do NOT want the petition granted because, simply put, they won. The federal government, represented at this juncture by the Solicitor General, does not want the petition granted because it believes that the Sixth Circuit arrived at its decision using the correct application of constitutional principles and because it does not believe that the outcome causes any conflict between state SORA and federal SORNA requirements.

The petition is scheduled for conference on September 25, 2017.

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Robin Vander Wall

As vice chair of NARSOL, Robin is the managing editor of the Digest, director of marketing, and provides assistance to the webmaster in keeping our websites running smoothly. He also serves as founder and president of Vivante Espero, NARSOL's 501(c)(3) foundation and legal fund.

This topic contains 71 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  dr. 1 year, 4 months ago.

  • Author
  • #17547 Reply
    Robin Vander Wall
    Robin Vander Wall

    By Robin . . . Claiming that the Solicitor General’s amicus brief is unpersuasive, Michigan’s Attorney General, Bill Schuette, has filed a supplementa
    [See the full post at: Michigan files supplemental brief replying to solicitor general]

  • #17554 Reply


    In plain English is this move positive or negative for the cause? In which direction is the supreme court leaning based on what we now know?

    • #17556 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall

      In plain English, who knows? Odds are better in Las Vegas. As I’ve said before, it is NOT in the best interest of our “peeps” for the Supreme Court to grant the petition (which, in plain English, means to take the case).

      • #17578 Reply


        While I agree that generally it is better for “us” that the US Supreme Court NOT hear the case. After all, at this point “we” have won. However, unless the US Supreme Court hears the case, the favorable ruling will only apply to Michigan residents, not the rest of “us” in the other 49 states.

        • #17585 Reply
          Robin Vander Wall
          Robin Vander Wall

          The Sixth Circuit opinion will be law in Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It affects more than Michigan.

        • #17606 Reply


          If the U.S. Supreme court does not grant review; it will impact those 4 states directly, and affects all the courts indirectly. Meaning, all court cases will point to the 6th circuit opinion and how the U.S. Supreme court handled that opinion. When I went into verify my address this month in Michigan I was talking with the civil servant who was waiting on me; that person tried to tell me the ruling would only affect those people involved in the case. That might have been true if the federal appeals court had not mentioned Michigan’s SOR as being unconstitutional; and then addressed SORNA as a whole(Which I did not expect). Those justices seemed actually upset with how all the states have abused SORNA’s original intention. Not to mention U.S. Supreme court justice Elena Kagan’s words when she rejected Michigan’s request for an emergency stay of the ruling. It may have been a political error on Mr. Shuette’s part to say the U.S. Solicitor General’s opinion was unpersuasive. Just my opinion.

      • #17636 Reply


        Thank you for offering clarity. I reside in Kentucky, to my knowledge nothing has been settled for my state as a member of Sixth Circuit. Would I be correct in saying nothing has yet changed? I ask because Todd states, “at this point ‘we’ have won.” I consider a win settled. Thank you in advance for your response.

        • #17639 Reply
          Robin Vander Wall
          Robin Vander Wall

          Things are presently in a state of limbo pending the Supreme Court’s decision about whether or not to grant Michigan’s petition. Until then, nothing is going to move. If the Court grants cert, things will remain in limbo until the Court disposes of the case. If the Court denies cert, the case will return below (to the District Court where it all began) for that Judge to proceed in accordance with the Sixth Circuit’s ruling. I would expect that attorneys in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio would then make haste to assess the weaknesses of those states’ registration schemes in view of the Sixth Circuit’s ruling (I’m certain this is already occurring, but we’re hearing nothing about it).

          If any of you live in a state within the Sixth Circuit’s jurisdiction, you might consider contacting your state’s ACLU to find out what is going on, if anything, to review and assess legal options consequent to the final outcome once we can be sure what it is. If you learn anything, please let us know!

        • #17645 Reply

          The thing is,the Sixth Circuit ordered the district court where all this originated to issue a new ruling in par with their opinion on this case back in August 2016 (ONE YEAR AGO), then the Supreme Court denied Michigan’s request for a stay in November 2016. This new ruling from the district court should had been issued by now.

      • #19445 Reply


        Question folks,

        If one’s conviction date for a single act occurred in 1992, was in a state other than one under the Sixth District’s purview and SCOTUS refuses to hear Snyder v. Does, does that mean that any of the states covered by the Sixth are barred from including me and those similarly situated on their registries?


  • #17567 Reply


    Thank you for the clear and concise summary of MI’s supplementary brief. Well-written. And MI’s arguments are interesting, not least the final one re: losing federal $$$.

  • #17558 Reply


    It is a sad state of affairs when “odds in Vegas” are better than the correct interpretation of the Constitution. Robin, your answers are always spot-on, and I wish I had your depth of knowledge pertaining to the ins and outs of our judicial system. The Bill of Rights seem pretty straightforward when I read them.

    What I find tragic is that SCOTUS has allowed semantics to get in the way of what clearly amounts to ex-post-facto punishment as it is described in the Bill of Rights. I can’t remember the Sixth Court’s exact quote, but it seemed pretty spot on; to paraphrase as best I can, allowing the government to enact legislation after the fact under the guise of civil regulation has throughout history been a most favored instrument of tyranny.

    The same way in which President Obama lied through his teeth about the ACA in saying “It’s not a tax; it’s a penalty” and then Justice Stevens said, “It is a tax, not a penalty; therefore it is constitutional.”

    I trust Robin’s judgement in this. Sadly, the fact that he is right breaks my heart for all Americans.

  • #17576 Reply


    I always find it amusing how these people will try anything to protect the system. Even if they or their own loved ones can be potentially subject to the same punishments and their rights violated by that same system as well.

    • #17607 Reply


      The thing is the Solicitor General defends these draconian, unconstitutional, inhumane laws because they know if one of their own gets into trouble of this nature, they can pull enough strings to help their loved ones avoid the repercussions of these laws. There’s a set of laws for them and another set for the rest of us. Look at the Senate and the healthcare they get on our dime and then look at the garbage they try to pawn off on us that ain’t worth the paper the policy’s printed on!

  • #17579 Reply

    Darrel Hoffman

    Shitty (oops!!!!) I mean, Schuette will lose this argument and those enhancements will be gone. A unanimous, and very conservative 6th Circuit Court called it what it is-punitive and punishment!!!! Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court agreed and threw theirs out. The US Supreme Court will uphold those findings!!!!

    • #17602 Reply


      PA DA asking SCOTUS to find PA Constitution in conflict with US Constitution. Anything to usurp their own laws.

      • #20743 Reply


        If the Michigan request for review is dead in the water, so shall the Cumberland Country DA’s.

  • #17592 Reply

    David O’reilly

    Check out this observation. I read the 6th Circuit’s opinion in Snyder “5” times just to make sure I understood it very well. Then, when the MI AG, Mr. Schuette, filed his petition for Certiorari to SCOTUS, I also read it “5” times and the one thing that jumped out at me like a ghost in a haunted house on Halloween was the fact that in his petition, Mr. Schuette never addressed the two main reasons the 6th circuit ruled MI’s SORNA unconstitutional in the first place: 1) MI SORNA is punishment and 2) therefore violate both MI and federal ex post facto prohibitions. The only thing he talked about were no splits among federal circuits on this issue and MI losing its federal shake down, I mean federal grant monies.

  • #17647 Reply


    I have been in regular contact with Ms Aukerman from Michigan’s ACLU for a few years now, since I was convicted way back in 92, when Michigan did not have a registry nor was I told by a judge I had to register. I was put on it unconstitutionally in 95,for 25 years and then it got changed to life, then just in the last few years they even changed my registration date to my convection date of 6/1992 that’s fine because it been 25 years now since june of this year.

    Anyway I was told that (if) WHEN we win, it will effect everyone on the registry in Michigan, Oh, Tenn, and KY as well I believe, but especially Michigan since it is our case. I hope they refuse to hear it, so I can finally get off this stupid thing, but then I hope they take it so that it will have an effect on ALL STATES. As far as Schuette goes he is an idiot along with Snyder and they both have but their feet in their mouths many times, and have both had the door shut in their faces, when it comes to this case and they will have the door shut in their face again, and it will finally be over at least for us here in Michigan.

  • #17688 Reply


    When SCOTUS took the Alaska & Connecticut cases in 2003, the general consesus among attorneys was that it was ominous, meaning it seemed to be a given that the court would rule against RSO’s and, in fact, they did, but consider the following:

    1) Trump’s SCOTUS pick, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, has been opined by many, even members of Congress, as being a ‘strict Constitutionalist’;

    2) Kennedy and Kagan are seemingly leaning against retroactive application;

    3) Former Chief Justice Rehnquist callously and mockingly remarked during the 2003 Alaska and Connecticut arguments that maybe RSO’s “need to be stigmatized”, injecting his own personal views into the decision, but he’s gone;

    4) Remember, in the 2003 ruling, Justice Stevens, in his dissent, offered a couple of useful nuggets:

    “What tips the scale for me is the PRESUMPTION OF CONSTITUTIONALITY NORMALLY ACCORDED TO A STATE’S LAW. That presumption gives the State THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT in close cases like this one, and ON THAT BASIS ALONE I concur in the Court’s judgment…The Court’s opinions in both cases FAIL TO DECIDE whether the statutes deprive the registrants of a constitutionally protected INTEREST IN LIBERTY. If no liberty interest were implicated, it seems clear that neither statute would raise a colorable constitutional claim. Cf. Meachum v. Fano, 427 U. S. 215 (1976). Proper analysis of both cases should therefore begin with a consideration of the IMPACT OF THE STATUTES ON THE REGISTRANT’S FREEDOM…The statutes impose significant affirmative obligations and a severe stigma on every person to whom they apply…The registration and reporting duties imposed on convicted sex offenders are comparable to the duties imposed on other convicted criminals during periods of supervised release or parole. And there can be no doubt that the “[w]idespread public access,” ante, at 99 (opinion in No. 01-112729), to this personal and constantly updated information has a severe stigmatizing effect. See Brief for the Office of the Public Defender for the State of New Jersey et al. as Amici Curiae 7-21 (providing examples of threats, assaults, loss of housing, and loss of jobs experienced by sex offenders after their registration information was made widely available). In my judgment, these statutes unquestionably affect a CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED INTEREST IN LIBERTY. Cf. Wisconsin v. Constantineau, 400 U. S. 433 (1971)…It is also clear beyond peradventure that these unique consequences of conviction of a sex offense are punitive. They share three characteristics, which in the aggregate are not present in any civil sanction. The sanctions (1) constitute a severe deprivation of the offender’s LIBERTY…In my opinion, a sanction that (1) is imposed on everyone who commits a criminal offense, (2) is not imposed on anyone else, and (3) severely impairs a person’s LIBERTY is punishment.”

    Justice Stevens kept bringing up the Constitutinally-protected right to “liberty” which, apparently, was not fully before and addressed by the court in the 2003 ruling.

    5) Also, during the 2003 arguments: ‘It’s not the whole truth,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said to John G. Roberts Jr., representing Alaska. Justice Ginsburg noted that Alaska’s Internet site that identifies offenders and their whereabouts does not indicate those who have successfully completed rehabilitation programs. ”The public is getting only the bad and not the good,” Justice Ginsburg said. ”Its judgment is being skewed.”

    6) Who would have initially thought SCOTUS would have ruled in favor of RSO’s on a less important matter (as compared to registraton and public notification) such as having access to the Internet and social media, but they did;

    7) The main information the government pushed, and the judges relied upon, in 2003 has since been de-bunked by the extensive research of many, including the very author of that article, and hopefully their voices will be heard this time around:


    ‘In a 2016 article, Arizona State University Law professor Ira Ellman found the current legal argument for high recidivism rates comes from a 1986 Psychology Today article. The article, written by counselor Robert Longo to tout a sex offender treatment program he ran, quipped that up to 80 percent of untreated sex offenders go on to commit new offenses…Figures from Longo’s article have been cited by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold previous iterations of sex offender registration laws. Longo has since disavowed the 80 percent figure and publicly opposed sex offender registries. In speaking with The Sentinel in 2016, Longo said the 80 percent figure is inaccurate and a “very high estimate.” He said it was unfortunate that his work has been used to support registries because “those laws did nothing. (Registries) didn’t prevent anything.” He now places recidivism rates at roughly a quarter of his original estimate. “People are going to take anything that works to their advantage, or twist a quote, to make it work to their advantage, and I just think it’s unfortunate,” he said.’

    So, with all that said, here we are, 14 years later since the Alaska and Connecticut cases…would it really be a bad thing this time around if SCOTUS does grant the Michigan AG’s Writ of Certiorari? Is there a possibility, one-and-a-half decades later into this miserably-failed social experiment, that the court has seen or can be shown the light and try to right its wrong…to take a step in the right direction to undo this grave injustice and insult to both the Federal and state constitutions?

    On the flip side of the coin, should SCOTUS grant Michigan AG’s Writ, one has to wonder if Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. will do the right thing and recuse himself? Many may not know that the current Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and the attorney John G. Roberts Jr who argued before the Supreme Court in 2003 on behalf of the State of Alaska, asking the court to uphold the registration and notification requirements, are ONE AND THE SAME!


    Though he did join the Court’s unanimous decision a few weeks ago regarding RSO’s and social media, I’m wary he can now adhere to the same Constitution he obliterated when it comes to registration and notification issues, given his strong defense of the whole draconian scheme when he argued before the very court he now heads back in 2003.

    • #17775 Reply

      Tim lawver

      Mathematical equation given Smith outcome.(2003)

      An individual’s liberty < Needs of database(machine)

      Therefore imposed new STATE electronic indenture upon felons, many w\o meaningful process. A few swept in who were not actually guilty of the qualifying offense in the first case. ( my beef!)

      What column

      What was at stake in DOE! All Liberty!

      • #18540 Reply


        Tim Lawver,

        Amen sir.

  • #17760 Reply


    Can you imagine what the consequences and future STATES and FED legislation would be for registrants in the event that SCOTUS granted Michigan request and REVERSE the 6th circuit (Snyder) opinion. Ever since SCOTUS gave it a green light for Smith v. Doe, sex offender laws have transformed into a de factor punishment disguises in “CIVIL” regulations. If SCOTUS once again gives a GREEN LIGHT to the SNYDER case as they did in SMITH case, I can foresee many more added restrictions, perhaps there will be GPS attached, more frequent home searches, more presence restrictions, SEX OFFENDER letters on all driver licenses in all states, added registration fees in more states, more frequents home visit checks, restrictions on association with opposite genders, more employment restrictions…and the list goes on in the form of CIVIL laws.

    • #17828 Reply

      They would be giving them a free pass to do anything they want to us. Last year my state enacted a law that says every car at the registrants address must be registered, even if the registrant doesn’t drive it. Say if your brother lives with you, his car has to be registered on the public registry. Failure to do that is a 4 year felony. So with that in mind, if Does v. Snyder gets overturned, I won’t be surprised if they start requiring every member of the household to register just as the registrant is. It would be like North Korea, where the whole family goes to prison of an act by a single family member.

    • #17839 Reply


      Again, even though SCOTUS Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. sided with the court on the recent social media ruling, the fact that he is the SAME ATTORNEY who argued BEFORE the Supreme Court in 2003 to uphold sex offender registration and notifcation is very concerning. Should SCOTUS agree to hear Michigan AG’s Writ, Roberts should do the right thing and recuse himself…then again, he didn’t do the right thing in 2003 when he trampled all over the Constitution, so it’s probably a moot point…otherwise, he would, in effect, have to admit he was wrong in 2003.

      (scroll down to the 2003 Alaska case)

      • #17841 Reply
        Robin Vander Wall
        Robin Vander Wall

        Personally, I’m not as concerned about Roberts’ participation because he will be constrained by the arguments he made in Smith v. Doe. And if he doesn’t hold to the essentials of that argument, his colleagues on the Court will be quick to point that out to him during oral. Roberts advanced the argument that the AK registry regime was not unconstitutional BECAUSE it did not impose undue burdens upon the people required to register. That was the persuasive, prevailing argument. So, his legal integrity will very likely force him into acknowledge his posture (and his legal arguments) during Smith v. Doe so as to avoid seeming duplicitous. Behind all the regalia of the bench are nine human beings who don’t find it any easier to argue with themselves than the next guy does.

        • #17934 Reply


          I read what you said twice, but could you elaborate a little more…not quite understanding what you’re saying. Thanks.

        • #17951 Reply
          Robin Vander Wall
          Robin Vander Wall

          I don’t think Roberts would need to admit he was wrong in 2003. Legally speaking, he was right. There was nothing at all unconstitutional about Alaska making available the record of prior convictions or registering sex offenders. The excesses we primarily fight against have all come AFTER the Smith v. Doe decision. Which, if you have not read that opinion, you really must. It’s the most important case for understanding how we back ourselves out of the more onerous restrictions related to the sex offender registries.

          All I’m saying is that Roberts should just stick with his arguments. That’s good for us.

        • #18539 Reply



          Respectfully, isn’t the public shaming associated with AK original ruling by SCOTUS unconstitutional if it was not available for consideration at an individual’s original plea-deal? Should they not be afforded full contemplation of any all consequences if they give up the sacrosanct right to a jury trial? You are as brilliant a person as I’ve read in any post. Smith v. Doe was and remains an abomination in my humble opinion as I understand the Bill of Rights. That you find it Constitutionally sound saddens me.

          I can’t imagine anything more offensive to our Federalist doctrine than punishment of any kind applied after the fact under the guise of civil regulations. It has in all ages been a most formidable tool of tyranny to paraphrase our founders. I still think you’re brilliant. Just disagree about Smith v. Doe. Then again, I ain’t sitting on the SCOTUS. God bless.

        • #19035 Reply

          Jeremy from Indiana

          I have to agree with you on your assessment of Justice Roberts. When I first discovered that he was the lawyer arguing for Alaska in the Smith decision, I had some concerns as well. It helps to understand the mentality of attorneys though. Attorneys are paid to represent their clients regardless of their personal or political beliefs. As a District Attorney, Roberts’ client was the state of Alaska. His job was to represent the state and he did that effectively in 2003. As a lawyer, he was bound by the letter of the law and his client’s wishes. As a judge, especially a Supreme Court judge, he has a lot more freedom in how he interprets law. For starters, he is no longer bound to a client. He is still bound somewhat by the letter of the law, but his position allows him to change that with a majority opinion. During the challenge to the individual mandate of Obamacare, Roberts was quoted as saying (paraphrased) that it is not the responsibility of the court to question the wisdom of a law, that’s up to the legislature. This quote gives me a bit of hope in future cases challenging the registry.

  • #18875 Reply

    Jeremy Heady

    While I do agree somewhat with Robin that the Supreme court is more likely to take the case if they feel it could be overturned, I still do not believe it is the rule. I believe this is one of those cases for the following reasons:

    1. The sixth circuit, Pennsylvania, and a number of other courts have declared different provisions of SORNA as ex post facto punishment, yet in many cases, they don’t necessarily agree on exactly what is punishment (residency restrictions, lack of due process, internet exposure, offense based criteria, frequency of in-person reporting, etc.)

    2. Pennsylvania’s decision effectively declared AWA, a federal law, unconstitutional.

    3. California is currently facing legislative battles on residency restrictions.

    There are really two sides to this coin. On one hand, if the Supreme court denies cert to Michigan or Pennsylvania, then those decisions stand as precedent. This would mean that AWA is obsolete and the provisions in those decisions declared ex post facto would become the law of the land. While that sounds like exactly what we want, I would argue for cert for the purpose of clarification.

    Since both of those decisions, and many others, seem to only affect the individual states’ regimes, it would be beneficial to us to have the Supreme court clarify what is and is not ex post facto punishment. Although it’s unlikely considering the court usually sticks to the specifics of a case, this also gives them an opportunity to clarify other problems with the registry, such as:

    1. Internet exposure of registrants. Most of you can probably relate to this, but internet exposure of residents causes employers to consistently violate the FCRA. Background checks are covered under the FCRA and the employer must notify you prior to performing one. They do not notify you when they do a search of your name online though (which I argue is a background check in itself). This is used by many employers to weed out candidates prior to the official background check. The use of illegally obtained internet search results in weeding out a candidate violates the FCRA and is disproportionately used against registrants. This may require its own case (I have yet to see this brought up in a court) to be brought after the other issues are dealt with though.

    2. Residency restrictions. California and Florida are the biggest culprits of abusing this supposed tool. These states and a few others (Minnesota comes to mind too) are facing many legislative battles that could be resolved by the Supreme court although, again, this may require another case specifically challenging it. This really needs a federal decision because this needs to be treated as a federal problem. As many articles and commentators have noted, there is no evidence these restrictions are effective or necessary. The only reason they exist is because each jurisdiction doesn’t want to be the safe zone for sex offenders. It’s a race to see who can be more strict so their SO population thins out. If it’s only solved locally or within one state, that jurisdiction will complain that SOs will be more attracted to their jurisdiction.

    3. Liberty bans. While this is not something my state does (although I think nearby local jurisdictions may), many still do. In many states and local jurisdictions, just being near a park can land an SO in jail for “loitering”. In Packingham, the court used the word “parks” when describing free speech. These laws are in conflict with that decision.

    4. Civil commitment. I don’t know the exact case name, but recently in Kansas, this problem was declared constitutional in direct conflict with the Michigan and Pennsylvania decisions. This is a gross violation of liberty and due process by effectively extending a person’s sentence to civil commitment by saying it’s a medical treatment. Insane asylums were outlawed years ago and that’s what these are basically, yet there’s little to no actual medical treatment provided. They are treated like prisoners.

    5. GPS devices. While I don’t argue against restrictions for parolees (parole is a punishment), this practice has gone way beyond that by forcing it on registrants not on supervision. This is a gross violation of liberty and privacy.

    I bring up these points because these are all violations of ex post facto, but different courts declare different things as punishment. Having the court consolidate the multiple cases in its next session with an hour or longer oral argument could provide us with the landmark decision we’ve been wanting for a long time. Yes, there is the possibility they would overturn one or more of these laws, but I am confident that after Packingham that the justices are starting to realize the unconstitutionality of these schemes. It’s time we let them declare it.

  • #19214 Reply


    This question is for Mr. Robin,

    I am from Michigan and was wondering if you could please explain to me in laymen’s terms WHY we here in Michigan still have to register and give up all our private info still, even though both the 6th Circuit and SCOTUS. turned down Michigan’s stay, so if that is the case why are we still told we have to comply until a final decision is med by SCOTUS. I hope I explained my question clear enough. Thank you in advance for your reply.

    • #19268 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall


      I don’t know the answer to your question. But I am attempting to find out. When I receive a sensible response, I’ll get back to you here. Thanks!

      • #19888 Reply


        @ Robin,. I don’t mean to bother you because I know you said you would get back to me if you find anything out that makes sense. I wondering if you found out anything yet,only because I have to check in ( register) in a few days. September ,were again both the 6th and SCOTUS both denied Michigan’s stay, but yet here I am and I still have to check in, in September. Doesn’t make any sense to me. Thank you for your time.

        • #19900 Reply
          Robin Vander Wall
          Robin Vander Wall

          Bobby, I apologize. This thing just sticks. I have had no success so far. Please contact me privately for further investigation. Thanks!

        • #20018 Reply

          Bobby, ACLU warned all Michigan registrants to continue following the law and registering as they had been until they receive official notice to do otherwise. No one has received official notice. Even though SCOTUS denied Michigan’s request for a stay, the district court where all of this started has to issue a new ruling in par with the 6th’s ruling. That district court has done nothing yet. Whether they are intentionally dragging their feet waiting to see if SCOTUS will grant cert or not, I don’t know, but I do know you absolutely must continue registering for the time being.

        • #20040 Reply



          Thank you for your responds I will continue to register just like I have for the past 25 years even though Michigan had no registry, when I was convicted. I will be going in on the 1st of September just like clock work.

        • #20042 Reply

          SCOTUS is scheduled to conference on this case Sept. 25th. With luck they could deny cert the following week. You would be among those that the 6th’s ruling will bring relief to. Even then, the district court will need to issue the new ruling. We might need to keep the pressure on to ensure they make these changes in a timely fashion.

  • #20392 Reply


    Hello Everyone,
    This question is for Robin or Fred or anyone else who might know the answer, I was on the SCOUTUS Blog that Does v Snyder is scheduled for conference on 9-25-17, which we all know this by now. What I noticed was it was under Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General. Is that just to separate it from other cases being heard on that day?

    Then it says orders on the 28th, but nothing is currently there at the moment so here it is does SCOTUS actually decide if they will take the case on the conference day (25th) and then post there decision on the (28th) were it says orders? I was just curious if it actually happens that fast or does it take longer, like a month or so for them to decided if they accept the case or not, any help or explanation on this would be appreciated. Thank you in advanced. Just trying to understand how it works in general.

    • #20398 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall

      The Court never issues orders on the same day that it conferences (unless it’s an urgent/emergency petition….such as a death penalty case or a question critical to the foundations of our democracy–which was the case during the Bush v. Gore fiasco). The Court normally (but not always) conferences on Fridays and the Court normally (but not always) issues orders related to those conferences on the following Monday.

      Yes, the categorization of the case under “Calls for the Views of the Solicitor General” is merely to remind the Court that his opinion of the petition was requested. It will likely elevate the Court’s focus on the case for purposes of the September 25th conference.

      • #20412 Reply


        Thank you Robin, for your quick response, very much appreciated so they will conference on the 25th and put out an order on the 28th correct?. I personally hope they deny Snyder, only because I have been on the stupid thing for 25 years now and when I was convicted there was no mention of a registry in Michigan.

        Then on the other hand I hope they take it, so it will effect everyone across the Country, but I still lean more on the denial of the case. Thank you again Robin for your clear explanation to my question.

        Thanks, Bobby

        • #20414 Reply
          Robin Vander Wall
          Robin Vander Wall

          Yes. The Sept. 28 Orders will most likely mention Snyder. There are four options: 1) the petition is denied, 2) the petition is granted, 3) the petition is rescheduled for another conference, or 4) the petition is not mentioned at all which would most likely mean that the Court plans to issue a “per curium” decision (highly unlikely).

  • #21174 Reply


    Hello everyone

    I was wondering if anyone has any idea, if we here in Michigan will be able to sue the State of Michigan and Rick Snyder and anyone else that was involved in passing this unconstitutional registry when we finally win here in Michigan. I for one hope they deny the review, sorry if it sounds selfish, but I have been on this thin since 1995, or since they changed the registration dates of everyone, I have been on it since 1992 25 years. So hopefully we are allowed to sue for damages .

    • #21180 Reply

      That is not selfish. If they grant the petition, registrants everywhere are in big trouble, because that would indicate that they think the 6th got it wrong. Our hope is that they deny it.

      My opinion is that there are no realistic grounds for a lawsuit for damages. Michigan is operating on the guidelines of the federal Adam Walsh Act that just happened to be challenged in Michigan on these grounds. The lawsuit is this one, and the hopeful outcome is that 1000s of registrants will win their freedom.

      • #21184 Reply


        @ Fred,

        Thanks Fred, for your quick response I never realized that by accepting the review would hurt people then help people, I always thought the opposite. So now I hope they deny it all together. What happens if it is not discussed at all, does that mean WE WIN, by default? Thanks again for yours and Robins responses to our questions and answering to the best of your abilities.

        • #21188 Reply

          They don’t have the option to not ever discussing it. The petition is on the table and information from both parties as well as the solicitor general has been submitted. They have to decide what they will do with this petition. However they can delay conferencing on it for a long as they want. If for some reason they don’t get to it on the 25th, they will reschedule it for a later date.

          Traditionally they make an effort to issue orders on all petitions for the year before they recess for the summer. Because they requested the Solicitor General’s opinion on this one, it got held over until they return from recess. I am fairly confident it will be included in conference on the 25th as scheduled. And because all parties and the Solicitor General have submitted their briefs, I can’t think of any reason why they would want to schedule another conference for it, but I have been let down before.

    • #21298 Reply


      @ Robin,

      How do you figure I have already won? I am still required to register and have bee since 1995, so I have NOT WON anything yet. but I understand what yor trying to say, I just want this to be over already, but unless I misunderstood what you said, this could still drag on for a while thank you for your responses though and explanations.

  • #21276 Reply


    @ Robin or Fred

    Don’t mean to keep bothering you with question, but since Snyder is getting closer and closer, I had another question I was hoping one of you could answer for me, or at the very least give your best answer/opinion. here it is:

    If or when we win, how long does it take for the order to become law? in other wards how long does it take to go into effect, I know they have to send it to either the 6th circuit or the district court here in Michigan or both for it to become final.

    Does it take days weeks months for it to go into effect , does the state of Michigan have other options to still  try to have it over turned?  Just wondering how this all works after we win, just staying positive.

    • #21285 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall


      First, you’ve already won. The present question is whether or not the win is sustained (by the high Court’s rejection of the petition). Should the Court grant the petition, there is no way to predict what the final outcome could be (the Court could sustain in part and reject in part, then remand for further review). How much time will that take? Heaven knows. If the Court rejects the petition, the case returns to the District Court where the action began for further proceedings in accordance with the 6th Circuit’s ruling. I wouldn’t want to speculate at this point about how that Judge would see fit to apply the ruling. For example, the District Court Judge might find it possible to make a narrow application which would set the stage for further litigation by plaintiffs who receive no relief. On the other hand, if the Judge applies the ruling broadly, that will set the stage for Michigan to possibly attack his application on other grounds.

      There being so many possibilities at present, the ACLU of Michigan has wisely cautioned Michigan registrants to let the legal machinations run their course. When the fog of battle lifts, we’ll see more clearly what ground has been covered and where there remain pockets of resistance.

  • #22134 Reply


    Hi Folks,

    Well I have been trying not to think about tomorrow, by watching a lot of Football today, but I am really anxious about tomorrow, and what SCOTUS decides to do with the Snyder case.

    I really want Snyder to be denied because it is a Michigan case, and I am from Michigan and have been on this unconstitutional and punitive registry since 1995, or 1992 if you prefer since they also moved our registrations date, to our conviction dates, but then I also hope they take the case so that it will benefit everyone across the Country who is on the registry. again not to sound selfish I really hope it is denied though, for Michigan Ohio Tennessee and Kentucky.

  • #22361 Reply

    ryan burgdorf

    I have a question for you,would this affect me. If I had a sorna violation and it sent me back to prison and I wasn’t even suppose to be under sorna. I was convicted in 2005 and I did 10 years in prison. I was released on august 25, 2015 and my violation was in 2016. I had a failure to register employment. Which sent me back to prison for 3 months and I started my parole all over again. I was suppose to be off parole on august 25, 2017 and now its September 13, 2018. One extra year for something that shouldn’t even apply to me. Do you have any opinions on this matter. Thanks

    • #22368 Reply

      Hello Ryan,
      First of all, you didn’t mention your location, so if the Supreme Court does not take this case, the ruling will be applied to the states in the 6th Circuit, which are Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky. If you are within one of those states, it would mean that any registry laws enacted after your conviction can not be applied to you. I think the “report of employment” law was added in 2011 for Michigan, but I might be wrong. If I am correct, and you are in Michigan, then I believe that will have some affect on you. I sure hope so.
      We hope the Supreme Court issues an order on this case Thursday. If they do not take it, and you are in the 6th Circuit, after everything settles down and the states acknowledge what changes they need to make, I would recommend you discuss your situation with an attorney to see if it will affect you and if you can end your probation immediately. On the other hand, I think it is possible the state may decide to end it on their own and will send you a letter explaining. We will all find out. I hope you will keep us posted on how it goes.

      • #22378 Reply


        @ Fred or Robin,

        Hello, Well I spoke with Ms Aukerman Michigan’s ACLU lawyer who is basically started the Snyder case, and who I have been in contact with for the past few years on this case since it will effect me greatly. Like I will either be removed completely since I have NO other convictions and it was considered a low-level crime, or I will be moved back to 25 years. The only few things I am wondering is since I was never told by the judge I had to register since Michigan did not have a registry in 1992, it did not come into play until late 1994 or early 1995, 1995 was when I was added to it for 25 years until they changed it to life. The other thing is they also with in the last couple years changed the registration dates of everyone in .

        They changed my registration date from 1995 to my conviction date of 6-19-1992, which means I have my 25 years in already, so I don’t have a clue how Michigan is going to right a wrong once the verdict comes down and we finally win, and Michigan loses.

        • #22488 Reply

          ryan Burgdorf

          Thank you for you’re response. Yes I am in the state of Michigan. I contacted the ACLU and they gave me a few numbers to a few lawyers that would handle this form me and suggested that my violation should not apply to me because sorna was enacted after I was convicted which was in 2005. Thanks I will keep you posted. I appreciate your time.

        • #22490 Reply

          Due to the year of your conviction, you are among the people the 6th’s ruling says should not be on the registry at all, and all logic suggests you should be among the first removed if the 6th’s ruling stands. The state will likely be slow to act and make the necessary changes though.

        • #22666 Reply



          Do you know if this same standard would apply to one like myself convicted in floriduh back in 1992? Offense occurred in 1991. Did not EOS until 2001. This is all so confusing to me. Thanks for any advise.

        • #22668 Reply

          If the Florida registry law was applied to you retroactively, then yes the same standard “should” be applied to you. Keep in mind, this ruling is in the 6th Circuit, which includes Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee. A similar lawsuit will need to be started in Florida, and that lawsuit can definitely use the 6th Circuit’s ruling for leverage, which could bring a victory sooner than if there wasn’t a ruling by the 6th.
          I don’t know if Florida currently has any ongoing challenges to the registry laws outside of local ordinances there, or if there has been any recent court rulings there. As harsh as the Florida law is, it would seem there would be challenges popping up everywhere.

        • #22669 Reply


          Thanks so much for the response Fred. Yes, floriduh did apply it retroactively. Florida Action Committee has been successful in a case involving internet identifiers, and they are planning to file an ex post facto challenge as I understand it. They are very involved in trying to bring the constitution to floriduh’s attention.

          I am hopeful I could move my family to one of the States in the 6th district if cert. is denied given my date of offense. Just have to wait and see I reckon. Thanks again for your time and response.

      • #22596 Reply

        Ryan Burdorf

        Thank you for you’re response. Yes I am in the state of Michigan. I contacted the ACLU and they gave me a few numbers to a few lawyers that would handle this form me and suggested that my violation should not apply to me because sorna was enacted after I was convicted which was in 2005. Thanks I will keep you posted. I appreciate your time.

  • #22599 Reply


    Not trying to get anyone’s hopes up yet but. I was just over at and, I was skimming through the post they had there about the orders related to Monday’s conference and I DID NOT see Snyder v. Does mentioned at all. The blog mentions at the end of the post that more orders (most likely denials) will be released on Monday Oct. 2nd. So, this begs the question… Does this mean that the Michigan AG’s request for cert has been more or less denied and, now the case moves back to where it started for a judgement that is in line with the Sixth….or, are my hopes jumping the gun a bit?

    • #22601 Reply
      Robin Vander Wall
      Robin Vander Wall

      Right now, all we know is that there is likely to be more to know Monday. It’s possible that Snyder gets re-listed for another conference. And it’s possible it ends up on a lengthy list of denials.

    • #22603 Reply

      They sure are pros at keeping us in suspense. I will tell you that much.

    • #22713 Reply



      16-768 Snyder v. Doe Whether retroactively applying a sex-offender-registry law that classifies offenders into tiers based on crime of conviction, requires certain offenders to register for life, requires offenders to report in person periodically and within days of certain changes to registry information, and restricts offenders’ activities within school zones imposes “punishment” in violation of the ex post facto clause.

  • #22647 Reply


    @Robin and Fred and anyone else that interested,

    I e-mailed Ms Amy Howe a independent contractor and reporter at and asked her if she knew anything concerning the Snyder case and this is what she wrote back to me.

    They did not act on Snyder today. They could act on it on Monday, when they issue a lot of additional orders from the September 25 conference. (There is a chance that they will not and instead hold it over for reconsideration at the next conference, but a relatively small one.)  She also said ( todays grants are likely to be argued in either January or February. The Justices are expected to issue more orders from September 25th Conference, which are likely to mostly be denials of review on Monday Morning, 9:30 AM, October 2nd . Seen this at the bottom of the scotusblog website. under, Justices issue orders from “long conference” (UPDATED) – Amy Howe

    • #22664 Reply

      Thank you for sharing that information. That offers more clarification. We are looking forward to learning more Monday.

  • #22848 Reply


    SCOTUS has denied SNYDER cert. So now what does this denial mean? There are now many legal variables in question. For once, federal laws adam wash act (sorna) is now applying differently in different circuits and / or states. What is unconstitutional in ones is considered constitutional in others. It is a great day for post sorna registrants within the 6th circuit area, at least for now. Perhaps a new case in other federal circuits should file and cited the DOJ brief in support of the 6th? What distinguished the 6th denial of cert from other bad ruling from other circuits (as mentioned in my other post), is the called of the DOJ opinion from Scotus in the matter. Maybe this denial of cert was more significant than the rest of SO cases because of the DOJ supporting the 6th?

  • #22854 Reply


    Now that SCOTUS has denied Snyder, will that finally mean I should be removed from the registry altogether since my conviction was in 1992 before Michigan even had a registry, and I was not ordered by a judge to register

    Also since our (MY) right to due process and other constitutional rights were clearly violated will we be able to sue the state of Michigan for damages. That would be great if we can, since I have been doing this for over 20 years, when I shouldn’t of been doing this crap in the first place.

    • #22856 Reply

      Hello Bobby,
      We will be releasing an article with more information soon.
      This is a very big victory and it will eventually mean what you said, but for the time being you must continue to follow the law as you had been.
      Now that we have won the case, it has to go back to the lower district court where all this started and a new judgement has to be issued that is on par with the 6th’s ruling. Then the state legislatures need to rewrite the law, or eliminate it, and then I imagine Michigan State Police will be tasked with finding and removing the affected names from the registry.
      So we still need to be patient for awhile longer.
      The good news is the state has exhausted all appealing options and now must comply with the 6th’s ruling. When they start complying is what we have to wait for.
      Keep watching this website for more information.
      P.S. As I said before. I believe there are no grounds to sue for damages.

      • #22857 Reply



        So since I have already verified my registration in September, and I don’t go back in until December, do you think it will all be sorted out by then? or do you think I will still have to check in come December, unless I get a letter in the mail stating I no longer have to comply with Michigan’s Registry. Thanks for responding to all my questions.

        Though I feel bad for the rest of the Country that Snyder was not granted, I am grinning from ear to ear. I still pinch my self that this is really happening, and read everything I can about it.

        • #22859 Reply

          That is correct. Continue verifying as you had been, until you get a letter saying you don’t have to anymore.
          I do not think it will be sorted out by December. I think 6 months to a year is more likely. That is my opinion and I could be mistaken.
          If the Supreme Court had granted cert. for this case it would had been bad for the whole country. Because they denied it, it is good for the rest of the country who can now use this case for leverage in their own lawsuits.

  • #22866 Reply


    That’s just awesome news congrats everyone, hope things start getting easier and a lot better. Now we wait for PA.

  • #26201 Reply


    so if sora is unconstitutional ,shouldn’t someone in government be held accountable for ruining so many lives.

  • #26300 Reply


    sorry this was suppose to go with my last post. dr.

    federal law 42 U.S.C. 1983, which states that “…[e]very person” who acts under color of state law to deprive another of a constitutional rights shall be answerable to that person in a suit for damages,” and provides a means for those wronged by government officials to file suit in federal court.

    federal law 42 U.S.C. 1983, which states that “…[e]very person” who acts under color of state law to deprive another of a constitutional rights shall be answerable to that person in a suit for damages,” and provides a means for those wronged by government officials to file suit in federal court.

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