Michigan Supreme Court to Review Sex Offender Registry
The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the Wayne Circuit Court, reinstating the CSC-II convict's lifetime registration requirement. At the time of his conviction for groping and fondling the breasts of a then-12-year old girl, the defendant was 19-years old and thus, eligible for Holmes Youthful Trainee status.
This particular defendant successfully completed a 3-year probationary term and his conviction was dismissed back in 1997. His registration requirements under the sex offender registration act [SORA], however, lived on and follow him to this day.
No one is going to shed a tear for any convicted felon that took advantage of a young girl. Nevertheless, the Michigan Supreme Court, in its order granting leave to appeal, instructed the appellate lawyers to brief the following long list of issues:
- Whether placement on the SORA amounts to "punishment";
- Does it matter whether the plea-convicted felon attained trainee status;
- Whether the SORA registration requirement violates a trainee's constitutional due process when a conviction is removed based on successful completion of probation;
- Whether application of the civil regulatory scheme contained in the SORA violates the due process of a trainee, even if the SORA requirements are not considered "punishment";
- Whether the requirements of SORA that were instituted after defendant's conviction amount to ex-post-facto punishment and are therefore unconstitutional; and finally,
- Whether lifetime SORA registration constitutes "cruel and unusual" punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Unites States Constitution.
We will watch and monitor this case. Oral argument will occur yet this term, after the briefs have been filed; an opinion likely will be issued sometime in June, just prior to the conclusion of the High Court's term.