What We Believe

The Michigan Sexual Offender Registry (MSOR) is an Ineffective Tool

  • MSOR should apply to ADULTS who are VIOLENT or PREDATORY OFFENDERS. We believe that Michigan’s citizens deserve a registry that will accurately identify high risk, violent and predatory offenders.  This will assist in keeping our citizens safe while allowing law enforcement agencies to monitor registrants and protect our citizens effectively.
  • MSOR casts too wide of a net, unfairly branding thousands of young people and low-risk individuals, subjecting them to persecution and humiliation, and destroying their lives and their futures.
 

It is Time to Make Michigan Safer

  • Michigan deserves and needs a registry that will ensure the safety of all our citizens.  It’s time to make the Michigan Sex Offender Registry one that will be meaningful, useful and effective for everyone; individuals, communities and law enforcement agencies.
  • Public Safety resources are unduly strained in managing an INDISCRIMINATE, overly inclusive MSOR that includes:
    • Individuals who have NO CRIMINAL RECORD
    • Juveniles unfairly indicted under criminal sexual conduct laws, created for adults
    • People who have successfully completed rehabilitation and treatment and are  recognized as low-risk for repeat offenses
 

The Current MSOR does more Harm than Good.

  • The MSOR is one of the largest in the country with over 42,000 names.  It does not discriminate between low risk and high risk individuals, actually hurting our ability to monitor and track those people who pose a serious threat to our citizens.
  • Public Safety resources are unduly strained in managing an indiscriminate, overly inclusive registry.  Those resources are diverted from effectively tracking true high risk offenders
  • Valuable resources are siphoned away from juvenile treatment programs that demonstrate a high rate of success with our young people.
  • Many young people whose offenses consisted of “heavy petting” or teenage consensual sex, and who have no convictions on their record, are being deprived of housing, educational, and employment opportunities as they mature into adulthood – for no other reason than their names are on this list.
  • Many of the people on the registry list face seeing their names on the MSOR for the better part of their lives.  Even without a conviction on their record, they face a lifetime of ostracism and shame.
 

Changes in the MSOR that will Make a Difference

A work group is being formed to help the legislature comply with the mandates of the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals opinion and help make Michigan's registry a more useful tool when it comes to protecting the public. Below you will find the recommended changes to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (MSOR) that was developed by the Professional Advisory Board to the Coalition for a Useful Registry. With a cover letter, this list is being sent (February 2018) to all legislators and other key players working to revise the MSOR.

U.S. 6Th Circuit Court of Appeals Decision - Remove all registration requirements that violate the U.S. Constitution’s ex post facto law, as mandated by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Does v. Snyder.

Juvenile Registration - Discontinue registration for all juvenile offenders.  At minimum, discontinue registration requirements for juveniles whose offense does not exceed the federal Adam Walsh Act requirement for juvenile offenders (14 years of age or older where penetration using force, threat of violence, rendering victim unconscious, or drugging is involved).  Those that do meet the federal definition requiring registration must not have their registration information disclosed publicly (currently juvenile registrant information is non-public).  Discontinuation of juvenile registration is supported by experts in the field of juvenile sexual abuse, and the scholarly research.

Individuals With No Criminal Record - Discontinue the duty to register for those whose conviction record has been set aside, or who were assigned under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (those who have no criminal record).   This is supported by the Michigan Supreme Court decision in People v. Temelkoski .

Offenses Punishable by One Year or Less - Discontinue the duty to register for those whose conviction was for an offense that was punishable by one year or less (including attempted offenses after sentencing guidelines were/are applied).   The federal Adam Walsh Act does not require 25-year or lifetime registration for offenders whose offense was punishable by one year or less.

School Safety ZoneEliminate all School Safety Zone restrictions, including, but not limited to residency and work proximity restrictions, and restrictions to school activities.   This is supported by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and U.S. District Court decisions in Does v. Snyder, and scholarly research.  The federal Adam Walsh Act does not require school safety zone restrictions.

Registration for New Offenders - Registration should be based on risk assessments.  This is supported by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Does v. Snyder, and the scholarly research.

    A. The PAB recommends #1
    1. If the prosecutor believes the offender poses a threat to the safety of the public and is likely to sexually reoffend, they must petition the court to request that an offender has to register; otherwise an offender does not register.
    2. At minimum, if placement on the registry continues to be statutorily-based rather than risk-based, registration should be non-public for all offenders for 10 years. If the prosecutor believes that registration information should be made public, they must petition the court to request that the offender’s registration information is made public.
 
    B. If a petition has been filed by the prosecutor, a hearing is held in which the court reviews the facts and determines if the offender poses a threat to the safety of the public and is likely to sexually reoffend. In making its decision the court shall consider:
    • Comprehensive assessment including Sex offender evaluation of a person’s risk to reoffend, utilizing empirically supported tools
    • The nature of and degree of violence involved in the offense that requires reporting;
    • The age and number of victims of the offense that requires reporting;
    • The age of the person at the time of the offense that requires reporting;
    • The length of time since the offense that requires reporting and the time period during which the person has not reoffended;
    • The persons performance on supervision for the offense that requires reporting;
    • Whether the person has participated in or successfully completed a court-approved sex offender treatment program or any other rehabilitative programs;
    • The persons stability in employment and housing;
    • The persons community and personal support system;
    • Other criminal and relevant noncriminal behavior of the person both before and after the offense that requires reporting; and
    • Any other information that is important to the court’s decision.
 
    C. If the court determines the offender poses a threat to the safety of the public and is likely to sexually reoffend, the court shall determine the duration the offender must register. The offender has the right to appeal the decision of the court.
 
    D. After 5 years of registration without a subsequent registerable offense, the registrant can petition the court to review whether registration can be discontinued. If the court determines the registrant does not pose a threat to the safety of the public, and that they are not likely to sexually reoffend, the duty to register is discontinued.
 
    E. If the registrant is subsequently convicted of another registerable offense, the extended term of registration shall be determined by the court at the time of conviction for the subsequent offense.

Registration for Existing Registrants – Current registrants are required to register because of statutory requirements—not risk-based requirements.  Registrants that are not relieved of their duty to register as a result of changes to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act should register for 10 years from the date of initial registration, with their registration information remaining non-public.

If an existing registrant has been convicted of a sexual offense subsequent to when their registration began and prior to enactment of this law change, the term of registration should continue for 10 additional years from the date of the last conviction.

Offense-based registration is not supported by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Does v. Snyder, and the scholarly research.

Disabled Persons – If a person that is permanently or temporarily disabled, or medically compromised, does not have the ability to register, whether in-person at a law enforcement agency or on-line, law enforcement should go to the individual to register them.  Law enforcement, the registrant, or the registrant’s legal representative should have the ability to petition the court to discontinue registration for individuals that are disabled.  This includes persons with learning or physical disabilities (including, but not limited to conditions such as autism, cognitive impairment, cancer, Alzheimer/dementia, debilitating illness, severe injury, etc.)

On-line Registration Updates – Provide registrants the ability to register on-line.

Indigent Registrants – Change the waiver period for indigent individuals required to pay a registration fee from 90 days to 1 year.

Registrants Notification – Registrants must be mailed an explanation of all Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act changes.

   

SORA NEWS & ANNOUNCEMENTS

DOES v SNYDER update from ACLU - December 2017

The Sixth Circuit, in Does v. Snyder, already made clear that the 2006 and 2011 amendments to SORA cannot be applied retroactively.  The same organizations that brought the Does case (the ACLU and University of Michigan Clinical Law Program), along with a private law firm, are developing a class action to ensure that all eligible Michigan registrants get the benefits of the Does decision.  In addition, legislative discussions are underway to rewrite SORA.  If individuals file their own actions, it could complicate the efforts of the Does attorneys to get relief for everyone. We discourage individual filings.  Instead, we encourage you to contact Tim the ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist at intern@aclumich.org  if you are interested in being considered as a plaintiff in the class action case or are willing to help with efforts to get the law changed. Please provide all of your contact information and a short summary of your conviction information.

IMPORTANT & EXCITING UPDATE on Federal Does v Snyder Case:

August 25, 2016 the Federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion unanimously declaring that portions of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry are unconstitutional because it punishes registrants and does not have a corresponding public safety benefit. It was also declared that restrictions added to the law in 2006 and 2011 cannot be applied to those convicted prior to when the changes went into effect without a determination of danger. Those changes imposed geographic exclusion zones barring registrants from living, working or spending time with their children in much of the state; imposed extensive reporting requirements; and automatically extended registration to life without a means for review or appeal for the vast majority of registrants. The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case meaning that the 6th Circuit Court opinion is the ruling opinion.

ACLU SORA info page: Updated information on the case and information for registrants.

6th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion: Released August 25, 2016.

2016 SORA FAQ: Frequently asked questions on the 6th Circuit Opinion and background information on the case.

Court Says Michigan Sex Offender Registry laws creating ‘Moral Lepers’: Washington Post Article

Judge: Parts of the state’s sex offender law unconstitutional

Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry law is so vague that parts of it are unconstitutional, including the requirement that offenders stay at least 1,000 feet from schools, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland, in a 72-page ... Keep Reading

Michigan Supreme Court takes major case involving sex offender list

DETROIT (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court has agreed to look at the case of a man who’s on the sex offender list for life, although his conviction was erased nearly 20 years ago. Among the issues: Is ... Keep Reading