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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Michigan Supreme Court to Review Sex Offender Registry

On Saturday, the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order granting leave for an appellant that had been plea-convicted of sexually assaulting a 12-year old victim back in 1994. Twenty years later, in 2014, the Wayne County Circuit Court granted defendant's motion to be removed from Michigan's 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.
With that many questions directed to be briefed, the ultimate opinion in this case will be an outright referendum on the constitutionality of the SORA. Such a referendum has been a long time in the making; the Michigan Supreme Court was patient in order to select its case wisely.

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.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please be aware that according to Michigan law, children as young as 14 are put on the sex offender list. They are on it for life if they are a Tier 3. Even though convicted as sex offenders as young teenagers, (and on a list only known to the police)it is almost impossible to get off the sex offender list. This law limits where people on the sex offender list can work and live. The Michigan Senate has passed a law SB(0581) further limiting where people on the registry can work and live. It is now supposed to go to the Michigan House. It used to be 1000 feet from a school and now has been clarified to be 1,000 feet from a school property line, and in some cases this can be a big difference. This law has been thrown out by a judge in April for being too vague. It is still vague and also unconstitutional in my opinion,

December 23, 2015 at 8:36 PM 

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