Federal Judge invalidates parts of Michigan SORA


A federal judge has issued a ruling that invalidates portions of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) that are unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland issued the decision on Friday in a lawsuit that argued the SORA was unconstitutional.

Cleland heard oral arguments in Port Huron Federal Court on Feb. 5 based on his previous 2015 ruling and from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2016 that some provisions of the registry are unconstitutional for some of the 44,000 convicted sex offenders on the public website.

“For several years, registrants have been forced to comply with unconstitutional provisions of SORA. The parties, and this court, expected that the Sixth Circuit’s ruling would spur legislative action, and for some time, it appeared that the legislature was poised to pass a new and comprehensive statute, obviating the need for this opinion. Unfortunately, the legislature was not able to finalize a new registration statute,” a portion of his ruling reads.

According to Cleland, the court will invalidate the portions of the SORA, even though “the court recognizes that its ruling will fracture the existing structure of SORA.”

Cleland wrote that he anticipates the ruling will reginite efforts in Lansing to finalize a new registration statute that will survive constitutional review, as the national model has.

“But until such time as the legislature acts, SORA will be unenforceable against a large portion of registrants and may be enforced only in part against the remaining registrants,” the ruling reads.

“To be clear: SORA will not become unenforceable as of the date of this order. Rather, the holdings in this opinion will become effective and enforceable only after the entry of a final judgment, at the time specified in that final judgment,” according to the ruling.

There is a 60-day window until the judgment will become effective so that the legislature can come up with a new statute.

Read full article

Help us reach more people by Sharing or Liking this post.


Viewing 29 reply threads
  • Author
    • #68169 Reply
      Dan B

      Unfortunately, the WXYZ broadcast began with noting this change could “remove thousands of PREDATORS from the registry.” [emphasis added] This is so exhausting. I wish people could see how they’ve been brainwashed into believing the registry protects them in ways research has proven aren’t true. It’s been one of the biggest scams in human history.

    • #68172 Reply

      You can bet your bottom dollar in 60 days the legislature will have a new registry scheme. I hate to be a pessimist but I bet it will be riddled with a lot of the same problems this current registry scheme has and they’ll do all they can to make it worse if possible. Get ready. This whole court process will be repeated.

    • #68176 Reply
      obvious answers

      there will be no solutions nor answers found in a legal system that is organized and overseen by the tyranny you seek to challenge..this willn be a perfect example..in 60 days the legislature will just pass some new draconian scheme exactly mirroring the old one except worse and using different pretty words..Then the cycle starts over. Also watch that the plaintiffs that challenged this last one will be rounded up and harrassed and arrested on trumped up charges as well. Count on it.

    • #68175 Reply

      Ok , I am confused. Is the Judges ruling that SORA in unenforceable right now!



    • #68181 Reply

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. This ruling simply invites retaliation by the gangster politicians, and little else.

    • #68180 Reply
      David V C

      Don’t count your vipers before they hatch.
      A similar ruling was done in Ohio were they could not enforce the Adam Walsh Act on Pre-2007 offenders.
      For a short period of time it was retro-actively applied until a man named Bodyke filed a lawsuit that stated the Attorney General cannot hold an Executive Branch and a Judicial Branch at the same time due to ‘Separation of Powers’.
      No new law was re-written and those under Megan’s law returned to their previous status, praise God!!!!

    • #68201 Reply

      Oh, and one more thing. I don’t know where some of you are getting that the press coverage is negative.

      IT’S NOT.

      The WXYZ report was completely fair and unbiased, in writing and in the video. There was no fear mongering of “thousands of monsters released and now coming for you!” type of reporting at all.

      Stop this nonsense, please. Stop the fear mongering. Stop being your OWN worst enemy. Join the battle. Don’t let others do it for you, and then bitch and complain and fear monger from a “arm chair quarterback” position. Quite frankly, and hopefully the mods don’t delete this part: If I just described your behavior, then you reek of cowardice.

      Oh, and here is something that is very encouraging–during the on air reporting they were taking a poll asking the general public if they thought the law was wrong and needs to be rewritten.

      70% of the general public is in favor of a full rewrite. I suspect a large portion of those same people would be willing to accept dropping this thing completely and leaving the latest ruling in effect, with effect of Law.

      So again, I ask you, STOP. I am one of those people who is directly involved in this battle. If you somehow know more than I do, then so be it. But I will almost guarantee you do not.

    • #68197 Reply

      For those predicting that the MI Legislature will pass something worse…the ACLU and I are watching. The very second there is an attempt to make something equally draconian or Unconstitutional you can bet that we will have them back in court the SAME DAY with an injunction against enforcement. This is assuming the Governor even signs it. Or did you folks forget that?

      The current Governor and the current Attorney General are of the same opinion as the ACLU.

      Let’s not talk doom and gloom. This is a huge win for common sense, the Rule of Law, and basic human freedoms.

      The only part that still miffs ME, personally, is that I know a number of others on the Registry personally. People who could have stepped up and joined the fight and did not—would not. I even gave them direct ACLU contact info and advised them to tell their story…some of their stories are far worse than what I went through due to these draconian laws. They did not act. They sat back and watched me fight, instead. With their stories, the ruling might have been even more severe and final for MI, but that was a missed opportunity! That is the real problem–US.

    • #68193 Reply

      I hope there is no retaliation on part of the Legislature, considering I am one of the Class Action Does in Does II!

      I spoke with the ACLU directly yesterday. After 60 days, anyone with a pre-2011 conviction with no subsequent convictions that are considerable registrable are now longer subject to ANY part of the SORA MI law. Enforcement has been 100% enjoined and barred. This includes periodic verification, fees, zones. All of it.

      For those with post 2011 convictions, portions of the law can no longer be enforced, but some of the law is still enforceable and they are subject to many of of the post 2011 changes.

      If the battle is to continue, then so be it. I will fight to the last. I don’t give up.So, if the Legislature decides to do something unwise and pass something Unconstitutional, I say BRING IT ON. I am spoiling for another fight.

    • #68205 Reply

      I believe this is a HUGE step for Michigan. The class action covers my husband from an incident in 2001. I was brought to tears yesterday when the WXYZ article came out. Finally some truly promising news in my eyes.

      60 days in hopes of better days. I’m curious though, since this was taken to a federal court would this include acts from SORNA regarding traveling? We don’t travel at all outside of Michigan because we don’t trust that what we read is up to date and don’t want to find ourselves wrapped up in a federal case just by crossing state lines. Obviously the travel portion with SORNA came into play well after 2001.

      Paul Reingold who worked this case with the ACLU personally helped us back in May 2019 and we reached out to the ACLU to share our story. We will NOT give up on fighting until they make it right!! And if they don’t make it right, my family is prepared to fight ourselves.

      Truth and Justice for all!

    • #68213 Reply
    • #68215 Reply

      I pray you are right and it is GREAT that the governor is on the same page as the A.G. and the ACLU. You’re smart to watch closely and be ready to pounce the second it’s needed. I hope this is the turning point.

      I have one overriding question: Once the ruling takes effect in 60 days, will this mean that every other state that falls within the 6th Circuit be forced to ditch their exclusion zones, loitering rules, and presence restrictions? Will this ruling paired with the 6th Circuit ruling force the other states within the 6th Circuit to drop those restrictions that were deemed unconstitutional for all classes of registrants? Those restrictions being:

      (a) Provisions Void for Vagueness:
      (1) the prohibition on working within a student safety zone, Mich. Comp. Laws. §§ 28.733–734;
      (2) the prohibition on loitering within a student safety zone, Mich. Comp. Laws. §§ 28.733–734;
      (3) the prohibition on residing within a student safety zone, Mich. Comp. Laws. §§ 28.733, 28.735;
      (4) the requirement to report “[a]ll telephone numbers . . . routinely Case 2:16-cv-13137-RHC-DRG ECF No. 84 used by the individual,” Mich. Comp. Laws.§ 28.727(1)(h);
      (5)the requirement to report “[t]he license plate number, registration number, and description of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel . . . regularly operated by the individual,” Mich. Comp. Laws.§ 28.727(1)(j).
      (b) Provisions Void for Strict Liability:
      (1) under the Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution, SORA must be interpreted as incorporating a knowledge requirement.
      (c) Provisions Void under the First Amendment:
      (1) the requirement “to report in person and notify the registering authority . . . immediately after . . . [t]he individual . . . establishes any electronic mail or instant message address, or any other designations used in internet communications or postings,” Mich. Comp. Laws. § 28.725(1)(f);
      (2) the requirement to report “[a]ll telephone numbers . . . routinely used by the individual, Mich. Comp. Laws.§ 28.727(1)(h);
      (3) the requirement to report “[a]ll electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses . . . routinely used by the individual,” Mich. Comp. Laws.§ 28.727(1)(l);
      (4) the retroactive incorporation of the lifetime registration’s requirement to report “[a]ll electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses assigned to the individual . . . and all login names or other identifiers used by the individual when using any electronic mail address or instant messaging system,” Mich. Comp. Laws. § 28.727(1)(i).

      How will this ruling affect all other states within the 6th Circuit?

      • #68217 Reply

        This ruling applies to Michigan only. If other states in the 6th circuit have failed to bring their registry law into compliance, lawsuits will need to be filed in those states.

    • #68218 Reply
      David V C

      Thank you, Don for chiming in.
      A lot of us have gotten so accustomed to negativity and abuse for so long that it is hard not to expect anything else.
      We just watch new law after new law being passed that is aimed right at us and when we do see a HUGE victory like this it’s hard not to imagine some worse outcome.
      These lawmakers, politicians, and sheriffs know that these laws don’t work or protect anyone, and some of them are doing it to fool the public into believing that they are helping to prevent crime and protect people so they can be re-elected, and some are trained haters of those with sex offenses, and some are honestly trying, in vain, to do something about stopping sexual offenses, which unfortunately will never stop until Jesus returns no matter how many laws are made.
      I am hopeful as are others that this all will end.
      The truth is slowly coming out, and since people are trained and brainwashed to hate and despise people with sex offenses, they don’t like it, and neither do the politicians, legislators, etc. because this is such a hot issue among people and some are using it as leverage for notoriety and re-election, but in the end, I believe we will see a great relaxation on these laws-maybe not a total abolition for which we all hope for, but a great relaxation of the stipulations and penalties for which I will be certainly grateful and am already grateful for the progress that has been made.
      Thank you, Don for all your work and care, and all the work and care of everyone involved here at NARSOL, and all the other organizations that are fighting and winning against these unconstitutional laws that are being conjured up daily. Differences ARE being made!

    • #68224 Reply

      Fred, my offense occurred in 2001. The Michigan Legislature has 60 days to rewrite a new sex offender law correct? Most likely they will. Do I still have to register? What if I get stopped and arrested by the police for being in a park? The police don’t know the law that it doesn’t apply to me? Won’t this create a lot of confusion for police pre 2006
      and pre 2011 registrants? What a mess!

      • #68229 Reply

        This Judgement does not go into effect until the 60 days are up and there is some confusion on when the 60 days start counting down. My best guess after reading the order is that the judgement will be filed by March 13. Then 60 days after the judgement is filed the ruling will go into affect. So it sounds like the ruling will be in effect by May 13th. Until then Michigan registrants should stay in compliance. It’s just three more months.hang in there.

        Michigan State Police has been ordered to notify all registrants who will be affected by this ruling. I am very confident that you will be among those who receive a notification informing you that Mi-SORA no longer applies to you. Until you receive that letter, you should stay compliant. Don’t take any chances on getting in trouble when you are this close to getting relief. It sounds like everyone should receive their notification by summer.

        The state does have 60 days after the judgement is entered to rewrite the law, but I don’t see how they can rewrite it to apply to pre-2011 registrants. I might be wrong though.

        After you come off the registry, the police won’t have anything to tell them you shouldn’t be in a park. But, if you are not supposed to be in parks, make sure you stay out of them until you are off the registry.

    • #68235 Reply

      Hello Fred…you are quite correct in your assertion that MI is unlikely to attempt to address pre-2011 convictions this next go around, if there IS a next go around. It is not a given.

      From what I can tell at this point, but will let everyone know the second I know otherwise, any pre-2011 offense that triggered a requirement to be compliant will evaporate in those 60 days time. If you fall into this class, it is unlikely you will face any new laws as introducing them for this particular class (that I fall into a well) will be a huge uphill battle for the state. There are so many precedents and rulings to the contrary of what some Legislators would like to do, that doing it is another story.

      Now, for actual removal from the public website or even complete removal from the Registry, is another matter that I am still pinging the ACLU on. This is taking shape, and the ACLU will have a big hand in what NOTICE is written and sent out to those of us affected. It could be anything from “You don’t need to do anything anymore, but you are still listed. Specific compliance is not necessary, but the public will still be aware” to “You are removed from the Registry since there is no longer a point in keeping you on it”. Don’t know yet.

      Since the days of Schneider, the face of the MI Legislature has changed somewhat. The changes did not start and end with a new governor and AG.

    • #68237 Reply

      To everyone who said THANKS–you are welcome. I did it not just for myself, but for all the people who are on the Registry and continually subjected to a life without Due Process, and effectively being on Life Time Probation, which any reasonable person would conclude the Registry, along with attendant zoning requirements and other “administrative” requirements most definitely is. Let’s see:

      1. Need to pay a “fee” (I call it a fine)
      2. Need to report “in person”
      3. Cannot do this, and cannot do that
      4. Living in fear of unjust or unreasonable actions by law enforcement

      ….sound like Probation to me, but Probation without end for many. The worst part is they managed to skate it through as some sort of “administrative” law so they could skirt the Due Process issues that are required for Criminal law. That is how they got around it. There are Criminal laws in disguise, make no mistake.

      So, yeah, I had to fight. No choice!

    • #68236 Reply

      Correct Fred. This ruling applies to MI only for purposes of this law. That said, it is now legal precedent for the 6th circuit and those states affected.

      WHICH MEANS get out there, if you are in the 6th Circuit but not MI, and FIGHT!

      Time for additional lawsuits to capitalize on this win, in neighboring states. The dominoes are falling. We are the ones who have to provide the push. Nobody else will, I can assure you.

    • #68251 Reply

      As a fellow but newly (2016) registrant I sit in awe of those who stand up for us. I am barely hanging on to the last shred of my former life and this brings me so much hope. As the legislature will undoubtedly and reluctantly start working on changes to the law when or should we be in touch with our representatives? If so, would someone be willing to draft a form letter to help us less educated or eloquent to get started with this contact?

      Thank you to everyone involved!

    • #68259 Reply

      Thanks Don.


    • #68298 Reply

      Do you have any idea how this will affect people from other states who move to Michigan? My conviction was in 2000, and I’d gladly move to Michigan is that meant my family not having to deal with the registry any longer.

    • #68329 Reply
      Not a SO

      Great victory for MI hostiges, I mean registrants. Now, will someone, anyone up there in the great state of MI (I use to live in Detroit, hated those winters) please tell the Texas ACLU that it will be okay to attack the Texas registry? The Texas registry is the twin of MI. Same Draconian, persecutive, vengfull laws. Also, I have yet to find someone, anyone to address a previous inquiry concerning the Supreme Court’s statements in an attack on the Alaska registry “Smith v Doe, 538 US @ 101-102”. And to reiterate, the Court stated: 1) “….the act does not require “IN PERSON REPORTING” to a police agency, and 2) those subject to the act are free to live and work where they wish and travel without restriction. Now, my question is, if the Alaska statute did have these restrictions, would the Alaska statute be unconstitutional? Can someone, anyone please shed some illumination of this?

    • #68334 Reply

      Don’t be so sure about that. From the comments I’ve read by the new governor of Michigan, she’s the one pushing this challenge. Therefore, anything that comes to her desk not fixing the problems that she wants fixed will be vetoed. Actually, a veto would be a good thing considering that the court has given the legislature 60 days to rewrite the registry law bringing it into compliance with the constitution. If the legislature squanders its time with bullshit, and it gets vetoed, then the whole thing gets kicked out. Or at least the constitutionally repugnant parts. We shall see when the parties bring their proposed order to the court NLT March 13, 2020

    • #68350 Reply

      “After 60 days, anyone with a pre-2011 conviction with no subsequent convictions that are considerable registrable are now longer subject to ANY part of the SORA MI law.”

      Oh how I wish i could believe that. What about the 2006 Amendments?

    • #68365 Reply

      Michigan Republican politician stated today he does not have the time for SO that he, Republicans, have more important things to do. Well, I think I will ask Trump for a pardon.


    • #68372 Reply

      @Don…..what of the widespread speculation that Michigan will adopt the federal SORNA and roll on as if nothing had occurred at all? That’s the greatest fear of many across several different blogs! You seem incredibly confident that you and the ACLU have the situation well in hand. Miriam Aukerman didn’t want to really address that possibility in her conference call on Monday. She mentioned it in passing but didn’t dwell on it. I think she and the others have opened a horrible can of worms for us! I’m a tier 3 in Michigan and the federal SORNA statute HAS BEEN FOUND CONSTITUTIONAL. That doesn’t mean anything good for me or any other tier 3 registrant. In addition, this class action lawsuit has crippled anybody seeking individual relief via a personal federal lawsuit. It’s starting to appear that the ACLU has possibly done more damage if the legislature reacts reflexively to the complete whipping the judge laid on it…I have a conviction that predates the passage of the original SOR and am only on it due to being on probation when it was enacted….our only recourse MIGHT be to be able to bring suit after the judgement order is issued…..love to hear your thoughts Don!

    • #68513 Reply


      Well, you said it yourself. Speculation. Don’t drive yourself into a state of needing Xanax over things that have not occurred yet, and probably won’t.

      MI did not adopt the national SORNA for a reason. They are not about to now. One reason? Despite highway funds tied to the bill, a lot of the Federal SORNA is unfunded. It would cost the state massively to implement it.

      The Governor of MI is not about to sign that kind of legislation either. She has made it pretty clear her issue is the the injustice of the entire scheme–not some technicality in the law that she did not like.

      Everyone keeps forgetting that the MI Legislature does not dictate law. It has to be signed into law by the Governor…and one who does not like the current one let along the federal variation. This is assuming the Legislature actually reacts in a reflexive manner. More speculation.

      You know, it is OK to bring along an umbrella in case of a rainy day. Common sense and all. It is not healthy to drive yourself into early heart failure over the worst possible case scenario type shit here.

      OH…and finally…what makes you think you were any better off with the MI law that got struck down? You are aware that there were going to be continual future changes that would have impacted it and made it just as bad, if not worse, then the Federal SORNA. Correct?

      You do refer to widespread and significant fear and speculation that this will happen, yet I have not seen any such thing online. Can you point out what you are talking about?

      Relax, Josh. Worry about the things you can control–like actively helping to fight injustice if you have not done so already. Donate to the ACLU and NARSOL. VOICE YOUR VIEWS. Don’t cower in a corner. Don’t live in fear in a tiny room hoping nobody takes notice of you.

    • #68530 Reply

      @Don…..who said anything about needing a Xanax and who’s hysterical? I’ve followed the comments on this and three other forums and that opinion/possibility is out there. I’ve been subjected to EVERY change and amendment since this thing started. I’ve never see a development go in our favor so if I come off jaded please forgive me. You say that Michigan didn’t adopt federal SORNA? Then what was the tier system that we were all subjected to in 2011. They obviously adopted enough of it to enable them to keep getting that federal money. I’m glad so many of you are hopeful and optimistic but I’m taking a wait and see approach. You think I’m wrong @Don? I hope to God I am but the last 25 years of proof tells me I’m probably not….I have fought for myself legally and I will again if this class action gets resolved.

    • #68647 Reply

      Fred and Don…

      What SPECIFICALLY does the Registrant …to whom this applies to within the 6th Circuit…need to do to apply for relief?

      My pen is in hand, sirs..

      • #68649 Reply

        If you are in Michigan, you don’t need to do anything. You will receive a letter once this is sorted out. If you are in another state within the 6th Circuit, I don’t think think you mean apply for relief, unless there is an option to petition for removal from the registry in your state. If that is what you mean, check our Wiki site for information on that: https://narsol.org/dokuwiki. Otherwise, I believe you mean how do you challenge the law in your state. The first thing you should do is make an appointment to talk to a civil rights attorney and show them the Does v. Snyder case and outcome so they know what you are talking about. This site is a useful place to see reports of the progress over the years: https://www.aclumich.org/en/SORA.
        The 6th Circuit ruling applies to all 4 states within the Circuit, but until legal challenges are started, nothing will change. NARSOL has contacts in each of those states that you may like to connect with to find out if something has already been started there. Send us an email by clicking the link at the bottom of the page and request to be connected with your state’s contact person.

    • #68659 Reply

      THANK YOU, Fred.

      I am in Southern Ohio and the latter portion of your response applies.

      I do apologize for the lack of clarity in my earlier inquiry.

      God be with us all.

    • #68665 Reply

      ” Send us an email by clicking the link at the bottom of the page and request to be connected with your state’s contact person.”- Fred, Admin.

      Email sent, sir, per instruction.

      Awaiting contact.

Viewing 29 reply threads
Reply To: Federal Judge strikes parts of Michigan SORA
We welcome a lively discussion with all view points provided that they stay on topic - keeping in mind...

  • *You must be 18 or older to comment.
  • *You must check the "I am not a robot" box and follow the recaptcha instructions.
  • *Your submission must be approved by a NARSOL moderator.
  • *Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  • *Comments arguing about political or religious preferences will be deleted.
  • *Excessively long replies will be rejected, without explanation.
  • *Be polite and courteous. This is a public forum.
  • *Do not post in ALL CAPS.
  • *Stay on topic.
  • *Do not post contact information for yourself or another person.
  • *Please enter a name that does not contain links to other websites.

Your information:

<a href="" title="" rel="" target=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <pre class=""> <em> <strong> <del datetime="" cite=""> <ins datetime="" cite=""> <ul> <ol start=""> <li> <img src="" border="" alt="" height="" width="">