What’s next for the Michigan SOR?

By George Hunter . . . Michigan lawmakers are debating how to overhaul the state’s sex offender registry after a federal appeals court ruled sections of the law are unconstitutional, but Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is contending the proposed fixes don’t repair the law’s flaws.

As Democratic and Republican elected officials wrestle over the best solution to a highly charged issue, a federal judge has freed the state’s 44,000 convicted sex offenders from complying with registry reporting requirements because of the novel coronavirus outbreak and confusion about the current registry.

Among the state’s registry restrictions the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down in 2016 were a ban on convicted sex offenders from living, working or loitering within 1,000 feet of schools and a 2011 revision of the law that put sex offenders back on the registry permanently if they committed a felony after they had served their sentences and had been taken off the registry.

The appeals court ruled that parts of the registry violated the 1st and 14th Amendments, and the constitutional protection against being punished “ex post facto,” or retroactively.

Detroit U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland has given the Legislature a deadline to amend the law by no later than 14 days after the coronavirus state of emergency ends. The revised law would need to take effect within 60 days.

If the Republican-controlled Legislature fails to change the law with Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s approval, the current law would be considered invalid and sex offenders wouldn’t have to deal with any reporting requirements. The GOP majority and Whitmer already have had trouble reaching deals on the budget, road repair funding and other controversial issues.

State Rep. Jim Lower, R-Greenville, introduced legislation that would make at least seven changes to the law. They include allowing sex offender registrants who are parents or legal guardians to enter a student safety zone under certain circumstances, and banning individuals from being listed on the registry if they committed a felony after July 1, 2011, and had previously committed a listed sex offense.

Lawmakers and attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the federal suit met May 6 to discuss the bill, which has been the subject of hearings in the House Judiciary Committee.

“Without the changes, the law becomes almost entirely unenforceable,” Lower said in an email. “In addition to the court required changes, I believe we have an opportunity to make the law easier to enforce/follow and have a real conversation about which types of offenders should and shouldn’t been on the registry and how long they should be required to register.”

But in a May 11 letter to the Judiciary Committee, Nessel argued the proposed bill has the same constitutional problems as the existing registry law.

“The bill needs considerably more work if the state is going to avoid future litigation over the constitutionality of its registry,” wrote the Democratic attorney general, adding particular areas of concern are the registry’s “exclusion zones” prohibiting offenders to live, work or loiter within 1,000 feet of schools, and “its onerous in-person reporting requirements.”

Read the rest of the article here at at The Detroit News.

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    • #73256 Reply
      Tim in WI

      Given the the U.S. Supreme court’s acknowledgement that Congress used an ex post facto law to interject a new duty and their civil designation was based upon the court’s natural deference to stated congressional intent, thus ” only the clearest proof [in the record] would suffice to overcome what Congress has reasonably deemed a legitimate government exercises to protect the most vulnerable.

      In other words despite Congresses’ opted for the use of ex post text “was in prison for……a codified crime. ” We must afford the benefit of the doubt to congressional intent ”
      Congressional intent reflect normally ” the people’s” intent and today the clearest proof of the traditional aims of punishment: (i) Affirmative restraint, (ii) Retribution
      are readily observable. However observable decreases in the other traditional aim (iii) deterrent via the database machine use (The registry and broadcast) cannot be scientifically proven by measurement of efficacy, predictably because recidivism rates are tied to what state’s do ( convict) and not what offenders do ( behave criminally). Do registries point to or identity specific behavior of individual offenders? NO! While registry may categorize, in somewhat ambiguous terms, the profiles point to codified law the registrants have broken. Therefore the court erred in its conclusion that an effect of criminal behavioral deterrent could potentially fruit from the regime. The minority pointed to the regimes’ use based on ” wholly dissimilar crimes” as proof along with “outpaced excessive demands for information” as a mere revisiting of past crimes NOT the preventing new ones. The minority was implicating pure retribution as motive for the life time indenture of man to government database machine property maintenance.

      Even if the State of Michigan reverts to their original version of the Wetterling Act the underlying cause will not withstand the intermediate scrutiny applied to it in the context of ex post balance. The benefit of doubt no longer holds. What has always been true, congresses like the people are perfectly capable of acting or behaving unconstitutionally, our founders knew it and prepared for that human inevitability. The proof found in part in Art.1 sec.9-10.
      That the Rehnquist lead court failed to acknowledge its right duty, the prohibition as absolute restraint upon Congress per certain text uses, and in promulgating law and database wholesale to settled claims and completely without formal process to contest the plain indenture, in favor of canonizing the benevolent role of database in the culture of American government and the culture whole, notwithstanding basic logic test nor, historical precedent under the 13th.
      Slavery itself always had it’s fans! Some fought to the death to defend it.

      Recently the 8th Circuit COA paid claim the notion that “moral terpitude” was evidenced by FTR infraction, justifying deportation of a man. The value of the database has indeed risen to epic godly status, but it is none the less simultaneously, golden calf for some and a golden goose for others.
      And this too, will be a fight to the death!

    • #73471 Reply

      This isn’t over by a long shot in Michigan. Those State legislators just might come up with some kind of: ‘Last-Second-Back-Door-Corruption Deal’-that will satisfy The High Court. No doubt there’ll also be some Political Impetus thrown in too, because after all, that’s how things work in the real scheme of things.

    • #73515 Reply

      I am so tired of all this so called legal BS. I watched the two Judicial SOR hearings. If the panel put in any more energy they would have fallen asleep.

      God help us all!

    • #73766 Reply

      It was a fun little dog and pony show, but in the end, it’s just so much circus sideshow.

    • #74148 Reply

      Im sure the founding for fathers of our Country would have created Regulatory Schemes if they were legal for felons, which they did not. Theres a reason why the Amendments of Our Constitution are listed, and numbered logically in order starting with the 1st Amendment. The freedom to choose to speak or not to speak. Registration requires one to speak. If you want to exercise your guaranteed protected right, and choose to not speak you are criminalized for failure to register. In the whole Scheme of registration people generally get some form of favor or permission by doing so like driving, fishing, hunting ect not to say one cannot do any of those actions while on private owned land. The registration Scheme over time basically has created a second sub class of Citizens who do not get the same rights as others even after serving their time. Sex Offenders do not get anything in return for registration, and is the fist time laws been created with the attempt to take away Guaranteed Constitutional Protected Rights in the States interest to protect the public. They are forced into servitude in multiple various ways changing from State to State. If a State ever had a duty to protect the public it comes at the time of trial, and sentencing and not after the effect taking away rights on the whim. See PEOPLE v. TOOLATE | 115 Ill. App.3d 13 (1983) where the State wanted to convict for rape where a rape never had happened. This is the leading case that originally started with California, and Illinois changing Rape Laws into SEX OFFENDER laws, and classifying Rape charges into lower charges since Rape needed specific aggravating factors to pass as Rape. Cant be called a rapist or classified as a rapist if you dont have a conviction for rape correct? Think again…. This is why The Sex Offender label was created and equally applied to all persons given a label as a Sex Offender when there is no real law labeled as Sex Offender because according to Supreme Court Ruling in TOOLATE that man could not be convicted for Rape since theres no evidence to support it. Hence why we have Various degrees of sex offender laws today. The legislators are now trying to lump sum everyone in the same boat to bypass/ circumvent the Courts ruling by creating Sex Offenders and Labeling them all Rapist by placing them all onto the same registry based off child molestation even tho in some cases never had anything to do with children.
      Im just giving a more accurate detail of whats happened over time since the 80s since Ive researched this in depth, and have kept an eye on this, and this is the information they dont want anyone to know about because it discloses and shows their intent and vindictiveness as they create a class and take away rights with the intent to punish/shame and control people in the name of public safety..

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