Michigan Sex Offender Registry Requirements Significantly Change

by: Matt Newburg

04/29/2015 11:49 AM EST
Tags:
  criminal law  
  csc  
  defendants  
  sora  

Michigan's Sex Offender Registry has been changed in dramatic fashion.  In an approximately 80 pageopinion, Judge Cleland has struck down a number of SORA provisions.  Recently, Newburg Law was hired to represent an individual who pled guilty for failing to comply with the SORA requirements.  Our client was on parole and was potentially facing parole revocation.  That changed when we called the prosecuting attorney and informed them that we would be filing a motion to withdraw our client's plea based on Judge Cleland's opinion.  Our client's plea was withdrawn and the case against him was subsequently dismissed. 

SORA is a Michigan Statute that governs those individuals requirds to register as sex offenders after pleading guilty to, or being found guilty of a qualifying sex offrense.  Recently a number of these requirements were challenged in federal court as being unconstitutional and, as such, the individual plaintiffs requested those provisions be struck down.  Their arguments were successful and SORA has forever been changed. 

In a U.S. District Court action bringing due process and other constitutional challenges to various SORA provisions, Judge Cleland held that the following provisions are unconstitutional and enjoined their enforcement:
1. SORA’s geographic exclusion zones provisions, MCL 28.734, .735
2. The requirement “to report in person and notify the registering authority … immediately after … [t]he individual … begins to regularly operate any vehicle,” MCL 28.725(1)(g)
3. The requirement “to report in person and notify the registering authority … immediately after … [t]he individual establishes any electronic mail or instant message address, or any other designations used in internet communications or postings,” MCL 28.725(1)(f)
4. The requirement to report “[a]ll telephone numbers … routinely used by the individual,” MCL 28.727(1)(h)
5. The requirement to report “[a]ll electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses … routinely used by the individual,” MCL 28.727(1)(i)
6. The requirement to report “[t]he license plate number, registration number, and description of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or vessel … regularly operated by the individual,” MCL 28.727(1)(j)

The Court also heard arguments on a number of other conditions and reserved judgment on the constitutionality of them.  Specifically,  Judge Cleland reserved judgment on whether the following SORA provisions are constitutional:
1. The requirement to maintain a driver’s license or state personal identification card with a current address, MCL 28.725a(7)
2. The lifetime registration requirement’s incorporation of the requirement to report “[a]ll electronic mail addresses and instant message addresses assigned to the individual … and all login names or other identifiers used by the individual when using any electronic mail address or instant messaging system,” MCL 28.727(1)(i), which is to be applied retroactively.

We have represented a number of individuals who face SORA violations and CSC related crimes.  If you think this opinion may help you do not hestiate to call our office.

Back