Federal Judge stops enforcement of Michigan SORA during coronavirus crisis

By Mark Hicks . . .

A federal judge is commanding state authorities to stop enforcing rules under the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to an interim order U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland issued Monday, officials are “preliminarily enjoined from enforcing registration, verification, school zone, and fee violations of (the act) that occurred or may occur from February 14, 2020, until the current crisis has ended, and thereafter until registrants are notified of what duties they have under SORA going forward.”

On Valentine’s Day, Cleland declared the act unconstitutional and urged the state Legislature to move to bring the law into compliance.

Under the February decision offenders would still have had to report to their local law enforcement agency or state police post through mid-May, while orders encompassing Cleland’s ruling were drafted by the parties. After that, unless the state Legislature acts, the Sex Offender Registry Act would no longer be enforceable against those who offended before 2011.

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Read summary from MI-ACLU

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  • This topic has 27 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Ken.
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  • Author
    • #70933 Reply

      Brian Woodman

      If a personal protection order (PPO) won’t stop an abuser from hurting or killing their victim then why have it? The same goes for the sex offender registry. A piece of paper(PPO) isn’t gonna stop the abuser and neither is a registry gonna stop a person from sexually assaulting anyone either. That’s the last thing on their minds. If they wanna do it bad enough they will and by the time they do it will be too late after the police get there. Also, no one needs to be on the registry with no real victims or sexual contact wasn’t involved in their case either. Indecent exposure and internet stings don’t always have real victims.

    • #70934 Reply


      Small victories.

      But victories none the less.

    • #70940 Reply


      Brian has a good point. those who wish to offend are going to offend. They don’t have any regard for artificial barriers such as the registry or protective orders or public outcry.
      I think it’s interesting that during this time of the virus jails are releasing inmates and registered citizens are not be held responsible for reporting or updating. I think this is pretty good evidence that the government itself recognizes that incarceration for many individuals has nothing to do with public safety, but serves primarily as punishment. This argument can be extended to registration of former sex offenders. It the registry is truly about public safety, they would not dare to suspend it any more than they would release psychopathic killers from prison just because of he virus threat. Theae suspensions of otherwise supposedly necessary or vital protocols tells us that these
      systems are not necessary to keep people safe. Because of the people were truly dangerous, we would have to be protected regardless of the threat of coronavirus. To not maintain the registry scenes, even temporarily clearly demonstrates how unnecessary for the protection of the public, which is the only reason they insist it exists. Obviously it is all about punishment, scoring political points, and pandering to a vindictive public. If registry compliance really kept us safe, the government would be compelled to find a way to maintain in the same way we’ve all learned to work from home and deal with life. It’s interesting how a crisis like this can expose the lie that we all have come to accept as truth.

    • #70942 Reply


      Charlie, your and Brian’s assessments are Spot. On.

      I was thinking along these very same lines, gentlemen.

      Tragically, it is the taking of human life from an entity completely uncontrollable, aka. covid-19, for the reality of this registry’s incompetence to be realized.

      Yet I am still baffled by the jurisdictions who still require “in-person” registrations, regardless.

      I detect signs of retribution as well as vindictiveness within those jurisdictions.

      Anyone with any real sense of reasoning can easily reach that conclusion.

      Keep up the fight, everyone. With dignity, fact, and truth as our weapons.

      We’ll get there. Keep going. We’ll get there. 👍

    • #70960 Reply

      Reuben Ranke

      Now that the regestry has been suspended I guess that means we can expect a spike in sex crimes by regered citizens?

    • #71007 Reply


      @Reuben If you mean a spike in “news” reports of said crimes then yes, they have to push the narrative harder to counteract.

    • #71029 Reply


      I’m hoping someone can offer advice. I live in Texas. Due to the Coronavirus, and people in our town doing more thefts after our police said they won’t respond to non emergency calls, my husband and I started putting a lock on our gate along with a no trespassing sign.

      Our police like to do yearly drop-by’s to our houses, on top of going in to register. Last year I was asleep when they came by, and one banged on the door for 10 minutes While the other walked around the house peeking in all of my windows (saw it on the camera).

      Do I have the right to secure my property with lock? And am I obligated to answer the door when they come by? Can they enter my property with a no trespassing sign, and a lock barring the gate? Can they cut it off?

      Every day I’m realizing that the constitution means less and less, and for us in particular we don’t really have any rights. But if anyone has any legal knowledge regarding this, please let me know as that time of the year is coming up real soon.

    • #71048 Reply


      If public safety is truly the need for the registry then shouldn’t we make one for covid to protect the public . Every confirmed case should have their picture and address placed on the internet . They should have daily compliance checks to make sure they are staying quarantined . According to the government’s arguments people have the right to know who
      lives around them and presents a danger to their children.
      Their argument will then be , we want to protect those people from some sort of retaliation so it’s not a good idea .
      What about the retaliation against RC’s . The entire idea of forced registries for ANYTHING is a very bad and very unconstitutional idea .

    • #71057 Reply

      Matthew Wrensch

      I agree with you. Thanks for opining.

    • #71056 Reply


      Matt ,
      I am an RC living in Texas and never answer my door . I’ve never had them circle my house and peek in my windows before . Im not sure that is entirely legal . They usually knock a while , ring my phone then tape a notice on my door requiring me to call their office and leave my information within 48 hrs. I usually call the second they leave .I’m not a lawyer but I am not aware of any law that says you have to answer your door . I don’t.

    • #71153 Reply

      Dan B

      One of the local news stations opened the segment reporting the original ruling with, and I quote, “a judge’s ruling today means that thousands of predators will soon be coming off the sex offender registry.” The pandemic is a good parallel illustration of how eager people are to have someone give the illusion of keeping them safe, regardless of the facts or harm to others. I’m afraid mass stupidity can’t be cured.

    • #71170 Reply


      “I’m afraid mass stupidity can’t be cured.”

      Corona seems to be doing just that.

    • #71214 Reply


      @Dan B. What Station was that, i watch the news everyday and haven’t heard a thing about the registry and i am in Oakland County. They just keep talking about this covid-19 crap.

    • #71533 Reply


      Whitmer is starting to open things back up, I wonder when they’ll start getting back to this issue.

    • #71899 Reply


      I received an email from the ACLU requesting urgent action. Looks like the House Judiciary Commuter has put HB5679 on the agenda for May 6th at 10am.

    • #71912 Reply


      Gahh, Committee, not commuter.
      Sorry for the typo!

    • #72037 Reply


      @Glitterfairy any word on what went down yesterday?

    • #72082 Reply


      There is a lengthy video available if you go to the MI house page and look at their archived videos. There was a lot of testimony offered, was surprised at the amount of people willing to speak!

      Other than one letter from MSP stating they support the bill as is, every other piece of data and testimony was overwhelmingly against it. Near the end, Rep. LaGrand of Grand Rapids basically says this bill comes up really short.

      What I’m gathering from their meeting is trying to take any pre 2011 registrant and reverting them to their original requirements, but still with some of the newer restrictions. Not sure how they can possibly do that while it’s already been ruled unconstitutional and can’t be retroactively applied. Homeless would not be required to maintain an ID. The public website would not include information on those who were not required to be included prior to July 1, 2011, removing tier classifications for pre-2011 registrants, they will allow loitering in a school zone for transporting a child, attending an event their child is participating in or meeting with an employee about an enrolled child.

      The bill doesn’t address several concerns such as eliminating lifetime registration, removing the school safety zone provision all together, including exceptions for individuals with developmental disabilities, ending email notifications to the public about pre-2006 registrants, etc.

      There was also talk about the financial aspect of having to create two separate lists. Honestly, if they couldn’t get one right, how the hell will they manage two?

      Oh, and somewhere in there they talked about the change to call someone a “Registered Offender” as opposed to “Registered Sex Offender” like that somehow makes it better (?!)

      Overall, I think it went well. I am working with a group of registrants in my county over the next several weeks to continue to email legislators, schedule virtual meetings with them, etc to advocate relief for registrants.

      Still a lot of work to be done, but sounds like the bill definitely will not flow through as is. I’m curious to know what others thought or what others have heard.

    • #72124 Reply

      Bob D.

      @Glitterfairy So from what your saying people who are pre2011, and were convicted before the registry ever existed, should be removed all together from the registry. Correct?. , or am I missing something.

    • #72127 Reply


      @ Bob D
      I didn’t hear anything specifically addressing pre-2011 registrants convicted before the registry existed, but would hope that full removal would be the case as they state reverting back to “original requirements”. This is only speculation at this point since nothing is concrete. Like I said, the whole thing sounded hopeful, parts are still broken, but we still have time to fight!

      Assuming this is part of your personal journey, I’m sorry to hear you’ve been added to this registration nightmare. Please share your thoughts with the Judicial Representatives on why this is so wrong, even if you do so anonymously.

    • #72229 Reply


      No, the Chair was interrupting those that were videoed in and was rude, he was not saying thank you to those people and remarked ok, ok we know where you stand on opposing this issue and Bill, he did NOT AGREE and this Committee will not stop passing bills against RCs! Further more, they are hell bent on working with old Mich SOR and are not addressing or willing to talk, negotiate or give any lead way for a re-start to Mich SOR !
      The Committee is Corrupt and looking for any means to continue with Law Enforcement, Victims agenda and is not, will not consider truth, facts or any other point of view or change in there course of action !
      The Volunteers need to be more Forceful and Persistent on the wrongs done and are currently being done and they must give big analogies of past and real time examples of civil, constitutional, and human rights violations!
      This Committee will NOT LISTEN !
      They must be faced with bold, determined and straight talk ,
      They must be told we are no longer going to allow or excuse or Negotiate Abuses and Violations of Citizens Rights under the premise of Public Interests or any other Insufficient, Unconstitutional means to Degrade and Suppress the Rights of Rcs.
      Thanks !
      Oh , it is Important to choose better Stories to present to Committee, for the Chairman was manipulating volunteer speakers by restricting and intimidating them by wanting only spoken stories, so that no professional script could be used to assist!
      Chair interrupted by placing lesser time restrictions on videos, to lessen importance of impact on Committee and control the “say so” in the matters pertaining to this Bill !
      Watch this Chairman he is Biased and will come up with sneaky little approaches to lessen, hamper or resort back to the Old Mich SOR …or hold at bay as many points for as long as he can get away with !

    • #72269 Reply


      Reminder that we voted for these people, and continue to do so. The system is too broken to ever be fixed.

    • #72599 Reply


      Matt your camera footage proves a 4th amendment violation. Too bad you cannot complain to their supervisor or do anything to stop them as a RSO you will just get worse treatment if you do. I would be tempted to post the footage on you tube 😉

    • #72838 Reply


      Just wanted to give an update here, I just had a sheriff visit to confirm compliance today 5/25, I’m in Northern Michigan(231), seems like business is getting back to normal in alot of ways.

    • #73095 Reply


      As of a few hours ago, Gov Whitmer has lifted the stay at home order.

    • #73173 Reply


      @Ken….the state of emergency is the order that affects us the most. I believe that expires on June 19. That order is the one that gives whitmer her power to make executive decisions and she won’t want to let that go easily….I’d prefer if that DID expire and we could get the clock ticking down on new legislation or God willing the state managing to get nothing done…

    • #73189 Reply



      Thanks for the edification. And, I agree whole-heartedly but I still feel a sense of trepidation over the whole situation.

    • #75669 Reply

      Bobby S.

      @Fred, I have a question , that I hope you can answer, how does AG Barr’s proposed Government changes to SORNA effect the 6th Circuit ruling or Cleland’s ruling when it comes to Does 1 and Does 2, if it effects it at all. As a pre-sorna registrant my self and many others are still waiting to be removed from the registry, according to Cleland’s order. The Clock unfortunately hasn’t started yet, because of Michigan’s so called State of Emergency Order. So do you know if Barr’s proposal will effect our situation here in Michigan. Thanks in advance.

    • #76463 Reply


      I became a RC from a case I was charged with when I was 16 i didn’t even know how to wipe my aaa good enough let alone how to fight a case but what i can tell you is that it was the most terrifying time of my life as a child in county jail now im in my late 40s dealing with this has been the hardest things (lost jobs, housings ect…. I have people poisoning my dogs to scratching up my car to water in gas tank i could go on an on. The saddest thing to me is all it take is a mad ex or anyone else to say look online he’s RC its a no win situation. Where does it end i could see if I had multiple cases of this nature then I wouldn’t have anything to say 🤔

    • #77282 Reply


      With Gov. Whitmer losing in the Michigan Supreme Court, does that mean that the state of emergency order is rescinded and well along with all the executive orders that she made? I would normally have to report in November so, I’m curious if I should report or, remain in limbo… Anyone?

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