By Fred . . . Last week it came to NARSOL’s attention that there had been a sudden new development in the Does v. Snyder case. Michigan State Police have decided that at this time they will not be registering anyone whose sexual offense conviction occurred prior to the April 2011 changes in the statute. A copy of the memorandum was faxed to Michigan ACLU. This decision appears to be due to the February 14 court order by District Court Judge Robert Cleland that gives Michigan legislators sixty days to change the law so that it is in compliance with the 2016 ruling by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
This development has created widespread confusion among Michigan registrants as the law has not yet been changed and is still very much in the statutes. It appears that Michigan State Police are giving registrants convicted prior to April 2011 permission to ignore the law while not providing any further information or confirmation that they do not need to register at this time. Also, local sheriff departments are not necessarily bound to the rules and policy changes of the state police and may decide to continue registering pre-2011 registrants.
Michigan ACLU is advising registrants to try to register anyway and, if refused, to try to get something in writing that says they do not need to register at this time. If that is also refused, registrants should take steps to document their visit themselves. Write down the date and time you attempted to register and the name of the sheriff deputy or state trooper you spoke with. While this law is still on the books and no confirmation has been provided, it is important that registrants take steps to protect themselves.
Michigan ACLU also advises that this does not mean pre-2011 registrants are coming off the registry. It merely means that at this time the state police are not registering them when they come in for their quarterly or bi-annually verification. This could change at any time, and pre-2011 registrants may be ordered to resume registering as usual while state legislators revise the law.
We are paying attention to this case and will post updates as new developments are announced. In the meantime, Michigan registrants should do their best to continue following the SORNA law as written.