ACLU calls for Michigan Governor to veto SORA changes

By Samuel Dodge . . . 

Approved changes to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act are unconstitutional and ineffective at stopping offenders, argues the state’s ACLU chapter in an appeal for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to veto.

State lawmakers approved altering registration protocols for sex offenders during the Legislature’s Wednesday, Dec. 16 session, fulfilling a 4-year-old mandate from the U.S. Court of Appeals.

“This legislation ignores the judicial rulings, rejects the science and makes Michigan communities and families less safe,” said Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney for ACLU Michigan, in a release. “The research is clear: registries don’t work. As the courts have pointed out, registries are counterproductive and may increase offending because they make it extremely difficult for registrants to obtain a job, find housing, and rejoin their families, sabotaging their efforts to become productive members of the community.”

Since more than 90% of child sex offenses are by family, acquaintances or first-time offenders, according to the ACLU, offender registries don’t curb offenses.

The ACLU argues that this changes essentially leave the law unchanged, and with a registry of more than 44,000 people, law enforcement will be burdened financially by tracking all of them and ensuring they all register.

“Instead of wasting millions of dollars on a failed and bloated registry, Michigan should invest in prevention and support for survivors,” Aukerman said. “The governor should veto this legislation and demand that the legislature do its job and work with experts and stakeholders to draft a law that is constitutional, evidence-based and provides true public safety.”

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    • #79288 Reply
      Larry Hosley

      To the ACLU, thank you so very much for all your support on HB5679. This bill is totally wrong and remains so much unconstitutional. Anyone on the Registry are the only people ever convicted of a crime that Can Not clear their names. People do make mistakes, some are very serious and terrible mistakes. But everyone should have the opportunity to prove they have changed. With my own situation, I am to be a registrant for life. I feel so very bad for what happened in the past and have tried to show everyone I an sorry for my stupid mistake. I am lucky in that so many of my past friends have forgiven and we have moved on very well. What is so hard is that I have worked very hard most all my life to build a legacy. Not so much any monetary value as for whom I am and things I have done. I try to put this all in my past, but every three months it’s back to register and the pain continues. I hope our Governor can understand what we are asking for, to be treated as and like the people we are. Hard working people who help support society and those around us. With the help of our Michigan AG, maybe she will. Thank you.

    • #79299 Reply

      The new law dropped the exclusion zones. The new law addressed what the courts ruled against and only those things. The legislators, as Larry said on the last episode of “Registry Matters” they fixed the bare minimum that would let the law scrape by constitutional muster and tightened down in other areas. Until public sentiment changes, these laws will never change but by force of lawsuit and even then don’t expect anything big. The politicians legislate in some areas based entirely on public sentiment. Sex offender legislation is one of those areas. Facts don’t matter; only the vote.

      • #79751 Reply
        Bobby S.

        @WC_TN, the new law doesn’t come close to being Constitutional, the pre- 2006 and 2011 registrants are not removed or being removed, like Does l and Does ll , says is suppose to happen. HB 5679 is a joke, and so is the Michigan Legislature, if they think this even comes close to meeting Constitutional muster. Hopefully the ACLU or Judge Cleland steps in before HB 5679 becomes law on 3-24-21.

    • #79334 Reply
      Tim in WI

      Sooner or later advocates will figure out the reluctance to make changes is far more about the ultimate use of machine database by gov and other actors than the human sex offender. Those compelled by law to register provide a commodity @ information data to maintain the quality of the property. Public safety is not the commodity, rather it is like the sweater knitted from the commodity. And while the registration process for the sex offender registration is mainly administrative and deemed civil by the Catholics in DOE03, it is still indentured servitude. Free men a paid to maintain property.

      The minority in DOE03 understood that civility and administrative intent are sometimes mutually exclusive and distinct to liberty. After all the reasons the forearms Jews were tattooed with numbers by the nazi party was ” mainly administrative ” The tattooing was a ” one time thng” another similar rationalization of precarious civility in intent in registration regimes.

    • #79517 Reply

      It’s unfortunate the ACLU is so toothless in this fight. Also Whitless(mer) signed the bill, so, as I’ve predicted many times, it’s back to business as usual.

    • #79679 Reply

      Is it true that HYTA are getting removed from the registry and police database? Is it automatic?

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