Michigan judge declares part of state’s SORA to be unconstitutional

From the ACLU of Michigan . . . The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) applauds today’s decision by U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland to provide relief for registrants on the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). In today’s ruling, Judge Cleland ordered that if the legislature does not bring the law into compliance with constitutional requirements, the state will no longer be able to enforce the law against pre-2011 registrants.

“Unless and until decisive action is taken by the Michigan legislature, no provisions of SORA may be enforced against [pre-2011 registrants] ex post facto subclasses,” Judge Cleland wrote.

Today’s decision follows several prior rulings: two 2015 rulings by Judge Cleland which found many parts of SORA unconstitutional and a 2016 ruling by the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that it is unconstitutional to impose new severe restrictions on people who have past convictions. When the state continued to enforce the law despite the court rulings, the ACLU, with the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program and the Oliver Law Group, brought a class action lawsuit on behalf of Michigan’s registrants arguing that the state had to follow the earlier rulings.

“Today’s decision is a win for the public safety of Michigan communities,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan. “The registry is an ineffective and bloated system that makes Michigan communities less safe by making it more difficult for survivors to report abuse, sabotaging people’s efforts to reenter society, and wasting scarce police resources on hyper-technicalities. Today’s decision means that lawmakers must finally do their jobs and pass evidence-based laws that better serve everyone. Michigan families deserve true reform that prioritizes public safety and prevention, not a failed registry.”

Read the full ACLU statement here as well as the history and background leading to this ruling and a copy of the ruling itself.

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    • #68211 Reply
      Tired Old Man

      Lets rational this with facts for a moment then reply with if you still actually think you will be off the hit list.

      1). attorney fighting for the Doe’s states there should be a list

      2). Judge finds parts of law unconstitutional

      3). after several years unconstitutional law still in effect (how is an unconstitutional still allowed to be enforced)

      4). after several years judge rules again unconstitutional and gives the state 60 days after the ruling that the parts of the law are unconstitutional to correct the law but still the unconstitutional law is still in place! (only against SO’s is an unconstitutional law allowed to stand! it should have been immediately struck down since it is unconstitutional!!!! Constitution means nothing anymore and this case proves it!!!!)

    • #68214 Reply
    • #68223 Reply

      I believe that everyone should be removed from the registry after 10 years cause if someone truly is sick or a danger to society then they will recommit within 10 years. However before there name is removed they must prove to a judge that they have changed their lives around and trying to be a productive member of society and have not gotten in trouble with the law for 10 years. Now dont get me wrong their file will remain with the police but puic would have no access to them to know they are registered offenders.

    • #68222 Reply
      Elwyn Kelley

      I’m below poverty line and my lawyer didn’t even know my name!!!They tried to give me 20 do five…I had to fight it all by my self..Not to mention my mental disorders..I was scared and plead out..Now I live my life in shame!!!!

    • #68221 Reply
      Elwyn Kelley

      I hope all of America follows suite.I am handicapped and have 2 nubs on my right hand and three on my left..no way can I undo a bra…10 years probation and very harsh rules in Georgia!!!!

    • #68231 Reply
      Janet Buchmiller

      I live in Virginia but was charged in Maryland with 2 counts of 3rd degree sex offense… I’ve done 13 years on my 15 year registry requirement in Maryland but because I moved to Virginia I have to start over… Please somebody help me

    • #68220 Reply
      David Roller

      When will this issue be addressed in Florida???

    • #68239 Reply
      John G Foellmi

      This is great for Michigan but I REALLY am waiting the decision to be made on the Wisconsin lifetime GPS federal lawsuit. I will NOT wear something that was NOT court ordered. This stupid DOC administrative law is so illegal in all aspect that my life has been a living hell trying to keep this F******* thing charged all the time.

    • #68246 Reply

      I have to appaluse ACLU and NARSOL in keeping up with all this. When will it all end. For much of this its all about truth, responsible, and trusting. No I’m not going to say “who you going to call” ghost busters” but I’m sure we all should call one these judges out and get some logical understanding.

      Sure nothing wrong with reasoning. While I took a guilty plea instead of going to court do the ends justify the mean’s in many ways. People wanting to live, work, and try to gain back something that they lost or was lost by these callous ordeals of staged underhanded internet deceition or even the person that went a bit loco from his med’s or something is an encounter of a different nature.

      Sure justice will prevail and thats why NARSOL and other Advocate’s keep up to help in this fight for justice and truth in this ordeal. I’m not too hot on the SORA ordeal as it is as unconstitutional as any thing in todays American justice. Even George Washington would not really approve of such an ordeal or were are the four fathers of true American Justice today.

    • #68249 Reply
      Tim in WI

      I posted a story here long ago that got moved to tales from the registry about a MI Registrant from the UP, upper peninsula – northern MI who was in court in Ontonagen. I was there on a speeding beef but was registered in WI. He was in chains, hands AND feet for a registration violation. He hadn’t mailed in the form but was locked up on arrest long before the jury was selected.
      Nothing civil about jail. I posted his bond. This guy was terrified and his chains rattled as he sat in jail Orange in front of the court. I’ll never forget that!

    • #68253 Reply

      What influence will this have on the 11th circuit case.

    • #68252 Reply
      Carol demoss

      Iowa needs to change their laws also! We are a sex offenders grandparents and are both retired. Home most of the time day and night. There is no way we would not know where he is. He already has a job lined up. But he cannot live here cause too close to a daycare. This is a small town and everybody knows him and are not alarmed, But now we have to spend small fortune to put him a hotel till we can find somewhere for him to live. This is so cruel and uncontituional. He is absolutely non violent. Please get these laws fixed.

    • #68257 Reply
      Jerry in Wisconsin

      Wisconsin laws are too generic. Mine was a touching only crime, but because of the age of the victim, I ended up with lifetime registration. I’m now 65 and have incurable stage 4 cancer. My crime was back in 1993 and each year I still need to register and pay a $100 fee for being on the registry. We have to travel out of state for my cancer treatments and because I’m on the registry, I cannot stay at the American Cancer
      Society’s Hope Lodge. It is off limits to sex offenders on the registry. Last year alone cost us over $1500 for lodging just because I am still on the registry. This doesn’t include the cost of my cancer treatments.

    • #68265 Reply

      Registry Law = A Crime Against Humanity.

      The Genocide Convention makes it a crime against “humanity” to create conditions leading to the destruction of an identifiable human group.

      Stop arguing about the rules of the registry and attack it at its roots so no such thing can ever happen ahain.

    • #68264 Reply

      the registry has been commercialized: homefacts()com; citydata()com; mugshots()com; …

    • #68263 Reply

      compelled self-serveilance for a lack of sufficient detectives is a financial bridge worth millions.

    • #68262 Reply
      Tim C

      I live in Virginia too. Despite the law saying you can be removed in 15 years, its still up to a judge’s discretion. I am similarly in the same boat. I bought a home in South Carolina and because I own property, I have to register for life there.

    • #68261 Reply
      Harry Lockhart

      I must be missing something here. The State of Michigan keeps getting a pass so what has changed? What will make the Legislature consider any quicker action. As they say “Deja Vu all over again”.

    • #68271 Reply

      data is big business and guess who just started charging flaw enforcement for data requests: GOOGLE!

    • #68274 Reply

      disenfranchisement, out of pocket expense, danger, no pay, ostracism and vigilantism are certainly substandard working conditions akin to african slavery.

      SORNA = SO[L]NA where L represents Labor because registration = work.

    • #68276 Reply
      Sharon Etch

      Where do we go from here about Judges ruling unconstitutional? For those pre 2011 registry filings, I guess you would hire an attorney that is willing to get off their butt and do their job to defend you and convince a local judge to drop you from the registry SO. My son was barely 18, ten weeks, and his one and only girlfriend who was homeschooled and hung out with the older students, who lied about her age, her parents did NOT want to file charges but was forced (threatened by the DA). The SO is evil and is only concerned with money. We have no money to hire attorney. This occurred in Colorado in 2015. Parole charges have been served and no longer on parole. Clean and wants his life back but The unconstitutional SO Registry is still ruining our lives! He has paid his debt to society. He is not an animal. He is a good person like I’m sure most are that SHOULD NOT be on the evil SO Registry!

    • #68283 Reply

      Police misconduct and civil rights laws. Someone was talking about massachusett. Sandy we still have freedom of speech and religion. Even if one pleads guilty one still has rights or by pleading one affirms that the statements are true. So one is still guaranteed of rights unless they are conned into signing a paper under duress.

      Sure one can talk about the constutition and all these underhanded laws but police and law enforcements are not boy scouts. Sure we all shuuld be pissed in so many ways about all this obstruction and invasion. Yes much of this sex offender ordeal and labeling is way out of line and we all have to be thankful for advocacy groups like NARSOL and ACLU and other orgizations that fight for those on low income or are discriminated in many respects or should we all go out and buy a tattoo.

      One just has to wonder who is answerable to who today or is conning the way to productive living.

    • #68286 Reply

      I like hearing positive rulings, I consider these battles being fought and won in a very long war. I’ve been on lifetime supervision and registry in thre state of Washington for 11 years now.

      I had a job for 10 years, until I was considered to be manipulating my 20th mandatory 6 month polygraph. The DOC decided this was adequate to throw me in jail. My public defender got me out in two days, and the recommendation 60 day jail sentence by the DOC was thrown out by the judge, after looking at my untarnished record since my release.

      Like most winning cases, there can be unforeseen consequences. The owner, who knew of my case file, decided after my 10 years of dedicated service, to let me go. When I asked him why, he failed to give me a reason. To me, within 2 weeks after my release from jail, I can assume there is a correlation.

      Like most registered citizens, my mediocre job doesn’t give me benefits like a reputable company will, nor does my wage come close to the median range for my superintendent position in agronomy. So when I read from all these posts, some suggesting, “get a lawyer”, that really doesn’t work financially for most.

      I appreciate what NARSOL and registered citizens have accomplished so far against stritch a week funded, corrupted judicial system. Thanks all for your comments, keep positive, I believe this cruel and unusual punishment cannot continue forever.

    • #68292 Reply

      I got gps for life in Michigan… It’s b.s. I had no money and a shit lawyer…. They lied to me and said I’d never get it…. Well guess what …. I got it…. No I have a life sentence of shame and wearing pants all summer long so no one else judges me…. I could care less about some of the Sora stuff .. lemme live a normal life…. Charge this thing 2hrs a day for life… Pffft… Gimme a chip if I’m that big of deal.. which I’m not..

    • #68290 Reply

      That’s great the judge ruled it unconstitutional , I think every restriction and law of sorna should be ruled unconstitutional in every state ,

    • #68308 Reply

      That’s a Sick thought ! They are dirty no human being free in this country should ever have a life time of punishment if you are unable to have anything to live for what good does this do to protect society , it only damages the community . I do NOT agree with this type of punishment knowing our system is corrupt and unjust for those who do not have money , This is how this state has gotten away with this B.S . If someone is that bad of a person put them in prison do not put them in this type of situation that is not helping or protecting anything , This system in Michigan is a trap for the poor , I feel for you , keep fighting never give up they will not get away with doing this to you ! KEEP FIGHTING !

    • #68314 Reply

      Huh? What? I live in Georgia, an 11th Circuit state. What case is it that you speak of?

      I’m working on a new challenge to the state’s sex offender registry law, specifically the reporting in person requirement. If anyone would like to join me, you would be very welcome.

    • #68313 Reply
      Tim in WI

      Confronting political leadership is key.
      THEY are now proven incapable of constitutional discipline!
      THEY were given opportunity to comply and refused to move or change the law in MI.
      If a MI congregation of registered persons assemble to protest in Lansing , some of us from other states will join you in protest. NARSOL could play a role in that?

    • #68340 Reply
      Mr. Freddie Stephens

      PLEASE, someone help the RSO (us) in Alabama. The Judicial system is so corrupt against RSO. The law means nothing, its whatever punishment the D.A. and the Sheriff decide it should be, and whenever it needs to be dealt to you! We have NO recourse. Once you are on the list, no matter the circumstance you are virtually eliminated from society for life – no jobs, ultra restrictive housing opportunities, your name and face and plastered ALL over, newspapers and TV over and over. If you try to resist you are arrested on false charges and NO lawyer will defend you. They have taken all of our money in fines, restitution, and court costs! What can we do?

      HELP — PLEASE!!!!

    • #68344 Reply
      Muriel THOME

      Please refer to the Florida Action Committee’s Ex Post Facto + suit currently before the Florida Courts that will hopefully go to the 11th circuit no matter who wins the first round. The in person requirements are part of this court case being brought before them by Attorney Val Jonas. to date all motions of the State have been defeated in the courts, so please familiarize yourself with this filing.

    • #68360 Reply

      In the 11th it is McGuire vs Strange. You can do a Google search.
      Just a piece of it is below.

      McGuire v. Strange et al, No. 2:2011cv01027 – Document 283 (M.D. Ala. 2015)
      Court Description: MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER: it is ORDERED and DECLARED that ASORCNA is unconstitutional under the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution to the extent that it requires (1) in-town homeless registrants to register (or check-in) on a weekly basis with two separate law-enforcement jurisdictions as provided by § 15-20A-12(b) in conjunction with § 15-20A-4(13) and (2) all in-town registrants to complete travel permit applications with two separate law-enforcement jurisdict ions as provided by § 15-20A-15 in conjunction with § 15-20A-4(13). It is further ORDERED that the Attorney Generals oral Motion to Strike and Defendants oral Motions for Judgment as a Matter of Law are DENIED AS MOOT. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 2/5/2015. (kh,

    • #68359 Reply

      In the 11th it was an individual in Alabama. You can get some great information if you listen to the Registry Matters podcast.

    • #68409 Reply

      Well, I must say thank you to the ACLU and the University of Michigan law team. I am a Michigander and an ex post facto case from 1991. I also see that the judge ordered the state must notify all ex post facto people on the registry by letter that they will not have to report anymore. I was kind of wondering if the judge was going to get tired of the legislature; those 60 day extension were getting old. Glad to see him put his foot down. I will continue to support NARSOL financially; what a great group of dedicated people.

    • #68405 Reply

      Since everyone is glad about this Michigan win or victory in this sex registry ordeal, one really has to say the bottom line is that all of a lot of this registry is unconstitutional with man-made ordiances, and laws. So where do principals come into play in this muddy wsater ordeal.

      Nothing wrong with Sandy’s comment or any of NARSOL to tell it like it is. Sure I will rebuke many that go against the grain and that is what these laws’ and restrictions are all about in many ways Now Sandy made a comment about legislation that I have to agree on. Sure we all should have Representation or should we all tell it like it is?

      Yes change is going to come and this sex registry needs to be voiced about the way they treat in this bias manner with housing, job employment, ankle monitoring, and many other devilish ways when they are the one’s that are setting one up for the fall. Sure you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink or who is enticing in this game of stimulation. Would all that be ethicial or standard for police code of ethics.

    • #68499 Reply

      Elwyn, even a handicapped person can hang in there so it’s great that you’re trying to stick with it.

      Everybody has to dig in and stick with it.

    • #68561 Reply

      “I also see that the judge ordered the state must notify all ex post facto people on the registry by letter that they will not have to report anymore.”

      I was put on the registry in 2008, was a tier 1 until a technical parole violation somehow made me a tier 3, I haven’t gotten anything or heard anything. Here’s to hoping though.

    • #68628 Reply

      I plead guilty ack in 1996 of 3rd degree ATTEMPTED CSC, I was told I would have to do 1 year in jail and register for 15 years. since then I have been labeled a tier 3 which now carries a lifetime registration. I have been battling this for 10 years now to no avail. Thank you to the ACLU and the U of M for standing up for all of us that are affected by the unlawful changes that the state of Michigan has imposed on us. I now hold 5 college degrees and deserve a chance at a free life to pursue my happiness. until this law is changed as you are all aware, I will not find a decent job because no one wants to hire someone on the registry.
      Not to mention when my dad passed away in Arizona I was unable to go to the funeral because I would have stayed with my mom who lived across the street from a school. I have missed several events in my children’s lives that I will regret for the rest of mine and I did not deserve nor sign up for this lifetime of punishment. it is essentially resentencing me every time they change the laws. I have paid my debt to society and should be left alone. Keep fighting ACLU my life depends on your actions because no one felt my actions in fighting warranted anything on my behalf.

    • #68903 Reply

      Does this mean we do not have to report anymore

    • #68918 Reply

      @Chris, I could be wrong, because you might be a different Chris, but did you not say on a different sight, that you went in to register and they told you, you know longer had to and that you didn’t even have the $50 fee either. I believe you also said that the clerk showed you a email that she received stating the fact you no longer had to register, but for some reason she could not make you a copy of the email. You also claimed that we should be getting letters in the mail very shortly stating this fact. Unless you are in fact a different Chris.

    • #68968 Reply

      May 2nd, and haven’t seen or heard anything here in Northern Lower Michigan as of yet.

    • #68981 Reply


      So I tried listening to the conference call on YouTube, and it kept buffing and stopping, so the one guy that asked a question, that concerned his 1993 conviction, I missed most of it,since it stopped working.

      So since my conviction was 1992, and was not ordered by a judge to register, because the registry did not exist then, they can supposedly keep me on it, therefore violating my right to due process, also I will have 28 years on the stupid thing in June I was only suppose to do 25 years, so I am over the limit by 3 years. So regardless of what the Legislature decides to do, I and many others should be removed from the registry since I/we are pre-2006 and 2011. Correct?

      I don’t see how they can legally keep us on the registry, with out the state getting the crap sued out of them.

    • #68987 Reply

      TO ALL Michigan REGISTRANTS,

      I just checked my email and this was in my email box

      Breaking News: Michigan State Police suspends registration for people whose sex offense occurred before April, 2011!
      Mar 2 at 10:22 PM
      PrintRaw message

      I received this email from Tim at the ACLU of Michigan today. I realize it doesn’t answer all the questions that you may have. I expect there will be a follow-up email in a day or two.

      AS OF LAST WEEK WE HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED THAT THE Michigan State Police (MSP) WILL NO LONGER REGISTER PEOPLE WHO’S CONVICTION PRE DATES APRIL 11, 2011[sic, I believe this should be April 12, Kathie]. I now have a copy of that memorandum (issued February 21,2020)  and we have been advised that some local law enforcement will follow this order some have as of yet to get the word.  And while it should be noted that local law enforcement may take the position that the MSP does not write laws so the local law enforcement can still enforce this law until it is rewritten.  It should be further noted that MSP has said this is not a removal from the SOR at this time it is only a suspension of people prior to April 11,2011 having to register.  We recommend that you still try to register and get something in writing from the agency that you came in and were told not to register.  It should also be noted that the MSP also talked about people who have warrants for technical violations, and or if law enforcement was in the process of getting warrants for someone for a technical violation unless that violation happen after April 11, 2011,  their position is that the prosecutor of the county w[h]ere the technical violation occurred should be contacted.  IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE MEMORANDUM DOES NOT ADDRESS THE TECHNICAL VIOLATIONS THAT THE COURT ORDERED COULD NOT APPLY TO ANYONE ON THE SOR. The memorandum has some errors in it and the ACLU is working to find out the details. 

      Respectfully Tim P ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist 

    • #68996 Reply

      So, all I got from all that @Bobby’s post is that the registry “may” continue to be enforced DESPITE the judgement that was made YET AGAIN. unfrigginbelievable. Stay corrupt, Michigan.

    • #69071 Reply

      I got this email from Tim at the ACLU today, also a copy of the memorandum, but it is in PDF form, so not sure how to share that with you all,but is the email that I received from him today.

      HIM: Attached is the memo from the MSP.  The local police are not required to follow it but we hope they do. As of today the MSP is not going to mail anything out to anyone because this is all up in the air.  Also note that this memo and the actions of the Michigan State Police do not remove you from the registry.  We do not know how this will all play out but it is the position of the MSP that they are just putting this issue on hold and will wait to see when and if a new law is written.  

      Respectfully Tim P ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist 

    • #69180 Reply
      J. Schultz

      Nicely said, and I am all in. Unfortunately, and many will disagree with me and call me crazy, but I have been knee deep in this muck for over 35 years and I think I know a thing or two, this isn’t going to get better, ever, and it will likely get worse. This is true because sex crime laws are not really about sex crimes, they are about feminism and man hating feminists. The entire homosexual gay marriage blowup is another example. All of these cultural upheavals are like bars of a giant cultural cage designed to destroy any thing masculine. The recent events of metoo and high profile prosecutions of J.Epstein and Harvey Weinstein illustrate the seriousness of the moment. Right now, today, as I type this, we are witnessing a dramatic escalation of law enforcement against all men and all forms of sexual conduct. My strong advice is to pay very close attention to these events as I assure you that we, registered folks, are going to be in the crosshairs with the goal of complete incarceration for all, or at the very least, life time Registration with GPS and intensive supervision and treatment programs. I have been saying this since 1985 and nobody wants to listen to me. My and your only chance is to renounce your citizenship and leave the country, but I don’t think there is any country that will take us.

    • #69244 Reply
      marlin s.

      On March 6, 2020 I posted a question regarding the Michigan case . I asked what implications this case will have on other states if the ruling is in favor of the Plaintiffs. Where do I see any reply to my question?

    • #69429 Reply

      Apparently the State wants a do-over of the Snyder case, since the first one clearly wasn’t in their favor. Get ready for a very rough ride, ladies and gentle”SO”s

    • #70825 Reply

      aurelius, Do you have a source for your claim that the state wants a do over of the does v. synder

    • #72535 Reply
      Duane R O’Brien

      I want to know who will pay these people whos rights were stripped of them for all those years. Think about not being able to see your children play sports outtings orl there plays or musicals? The years of missed pto meetings or the inability to live or work a decent job they were offered because they would have been imprisoned. The mental anguish of the parent when there kid is crying cause you cannot see them grow in those fields… No amount of money could replace those things. And there should be a substantial attempt at making it right by at least paying them for there blatant tyranny. Who has the class action lawsuit against the state for there constitutional rights being so vulgarly violated by these gang memebers they call cops out here?

    • #74835 Reply
      Dwayne Trout

      I was 15 in 81 when the crime happened and was arrested at 18 and convicted at 21. Was in prison 2-91 to may-94 did parole 2 years. They have change the laws so many times I didn’t know what to do. I have never did it again I am 51 and been married 2 times had kids and step kids. Not everyone offends.

    • #77411 Reply

      Unconstitutional is exactly that .Any law that is unconstitutional is a voided law.How can any court in this United States allow for a ruling to fix or amend it to be constitutional? If its unconstitutional as the Court has deemed it should be thrown out immediately and anyone held under it retroactively should be removed immediately and without hesitation .If they need a new form of this law to be constitutional then write a new law but this one has already been deemed unconstitutional and they cant just go change the wording to make it what they want it to be .That in itself would be a crime

    • #77528 Reply


      Welcome to Michigan, where the laws only apply to us, and not them.

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