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MI: Court voids state sex offender registry for imposing unconstitutionally retroactive punishment [UPDATED]

UPDATED with media links – Today the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit held that recent amendments to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) are unconstitutional because they impose retroactive punishment on sex offenders in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws. Among other things, the plaintiffs argued that amendments to Michigan’s SORA increased the severity of its requirements after their convictions imposed retroactive punishment. In John Does #1-5 v. Snyder, the Sixth Circuit agreed. Full Article


Statement of Facts

Oral Argument

Related Media Articles

Federal Appeals Court Calls Michigan Sex Offender Registry “A Punishment,” Bars State from Imposing Draconian Restrictions (ACLU Michigan – including related documents)

Sixth Circuit panel concludes Michigan sex offender registration amendments “imposes punishment” and thus are ex post unconstitutional for retroactive application

added August 28

added August 30


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Hi Janice. Do you feel that this will/could help in any way, now or in the future, in California?

This is outstanding!!!!

Now that’s something to add to the WIN column.

They finally come right out and say that today’s monster of a registry is nothing like the Alaska case in 2003 where SCOTUS ruled it not punitive, and is in fact, very punitive now.

The next step is to get this to happen in all states, and/or get it to SCOTUS again. I thought that when there were different rulings in different states federal courts, the issue had to make it to SCOTUS. We can’t have some states where a national list is ok and some where it isn’t.

We still need to challenge the entire registry and not just ex-post-facto, because nobody should be subjected to it no matter when their crime occurred or occurs. Hopefully this opens it up to cruel and unusual punishment challenges as well as challenges to Due Process violations since the registry and its arbitrary lengths of time to be on it are not based on an individual analysis, but just on a long list of crimes that may or may not be sexual in nature.

I don’t see anybody addressing the fact that the current registry system has expanded to the point where it is just a separate and illegal form of supervision existing outside of the established accepted procedures of courts and probation. It used to be that when you are on probation you had restrictions to protect the community based on your individual threat to society, and those had procedures to be made harsher or easier depending on your situation. Once you served the judge ordered amount of time, or were granted early release for being deemed “rehabilitated”, you were free to live your life. Not with “registration”. There is no modification to your restrictions, no path to change them, no correlation between restrictions and your threat, and instead of reporting to an office setting at a time you schedule you are at the mercy of going to a police station when they say to, and can sit there for hours and hours.

Through the “registry”, legislatures have created an entire punish and monitor system void of the established processes, procedures, and protection of constitutional rights of the court and probation system. It couldn’t be more unhinged unless they start hanging people that violate rules….we’ll see how long it takes for that to happen. I’ll be Florida will lead the way.

BOOM! This is awesome news… In your face! bout time. Let keep the momentum going.

This really is very exciting and encouraging.

The Volokh Conspiracy which is a legal blog on the Washington Post, has also written this:
“Court voids state sex offender registry for imposing unconstitutionally retroactive punishment”

Finally..!… The train has Stopped on this RailRoadedistry..!
Thank You 6th Circuit US District Court of Appeals.
Separation of Powers Works..!!
Thank You..!
This is H U G E.

This is huge! Very significant ruling. And from a federal Circuit. First time a federal circuit court ruled SOLs were punishment

Everyone should read the 13 page ruling.

This is great, and it’s extra cool because that’s where I was convicted. I expect this to be challenged quickly, but I like where it’s headed.

So if the 6th Circuit is critical of offense based tiers in MI, are we going to see the MI state legislature incorporate a “risk” based tiering that relies on the Static-99R scam? “Individualized assessment” should not be used in conjunction with a scam actuarial instrument. The way I see it, the Static-99R blowhards will line up and use this great decision as an opportunity to get MI, as well as other states, to incorporate psychic, minority report style, pseudo science. Of course I speak of the Static 99 scam.

The Static 99 is not an individual assessment of dangerousness, Goddess help us if it is. It is a survey of group characteristics, and at that not a very thorough survey. It is a simple form to enable unsophisticated bureaucrats to classify offenders. I would think no legitimate psychologist would make a diagnosis based on it.

The Static-99R is routinely used as an “individual assessment of dangerousness.” This is a fact. In California:

– It’s listed on each Megan’s Law profile.
– It’s used in SVP hearings to determine indefinite detention.
– It’s used by CDCR and probation departments.
– Pseudo psychologists rely on it to testify as to one’s alleged risk.
– Judges generally trust it.
– Politicians endorse it.
– CASOMB and our Department of “Justice” swears by it.
– The proposed tiered registry will use it.



I wrote some explanations to why the Static-99 and Static-99R are unfairly used. Others have given their input as well. Here is a link:

Well, yes, it runs like a con game, simply assigning numbers to a limited number of events, and summing it up to give a risk score isn’t a thorough evaluation of a human being, boy if that were the case, why haven’t they surveyed 1000 drunk drivers to score when the next will re-offend; but why hasn’t anyone challenged their score, and the scoring method in court? Or if they have, what was the result?

you’re right G. Allen they’ll not only use this an opportunity, but they’ll receive the support and vision from around the country to figure out how to beat this ruling and still maintain a strict regimen of laws to make our lives miserable! Well the good thing is they’ll be in the same 6th circuit! I think were close to a show down there’s nothing between them and the US supreme court!

I particularly like the part where the opinion casts aspersion on the “frightening and high” myth and then notes that “Michigan has never analyzed recidivism rates despite having the data to do so,” as if challenging the state to provide a rational basis for the registry. But everything about this opinion is very encouraging. It’s wonderful to have a judge discuss actual research, not just precedence. And the opinion itself is very easy to read even for a layperson. Kudos to the author, Judge Batchelder.

I also enjoyed the quotes and references to the Federalist papers. Obviously someone who has studied the way the constitution was meant to be understood. I’ve never heard a judge reference them before. People try and say that the constitution is a living document and act like they can interpret it differently based on what they want to believe but the founding fathers gave clear explanations through the Federalist papers as to what they intended when the wrote the founding documents.

Right gotta love that court! but dont leave out the attorney who wrote the brief which said all that went into the opinion! s/he did a fantastic job!

This opinion was written with the anticipation it was headed for the Supreme court. Careful mention was made of the Alaska case, etc..

There’s the 13 page opinion. It lists multiple lawyers, two from the ACLU of Michigan., I believe.

A number of us have seen this coming, which is why, we were pushing against a tier system in California. The worse your restrictions, the better your chance of having the registry invalidated. Chipping away at the edges works in favor of the establishment.

The biggest trick government uses against people and groups these days is to get THEM clambering for things that go against their interests.

Ok, my conviction is from 1995, where I was given a 25 year registration period. I’ve been out of prison since 2003 with no other problems. So if I’m reading this right, I shouldn’t be required to do the Lifetime registration. Correct?

I live in Michigan, and have been talking with Ms Aukermanfrom Michigan’s ACLU, like me my Conviction was in 1992,before Michigan even had a registry,and i was released in 1994, and off parole in 1995.
I was retroactively put on the registry in 1995,with out notice therefore violating the expos facto clause,the right to due process,and the 8th and 14th amendments. those of us (you and me ) who were sentenced back in the early to mid 90’s will either go back to 25 year registry or taken off of it all together. The State illegally changed my registration from 1995 to 1992,so either way i have been on the registry for 21 years or 24 depending on which registration date you follow,with no futher convictions or trouble for that matter

This is the greatest news for the hit list ever since it was created!
If this holds up i will have to research MI’s old laws and maybe move there and be off the hit list yippie!!!!

And then maybe you can change your username, (I can’t wait to die) LOL!

Maybe you’ll change your name to something a little less morose. Perhaps “Slightly Less Excited About Death Than I Used to Be.” 🙂

“…is something altogether different from and more troubling than Alaska’s first-generation registry law.”

OH MY….is this judge referring to the SCOTUS case that seemed to give legislatures a blank check to enact whatever laws they want???? If so, then THIS IS HUGE!!!

This judge gets it, and I pray that this decision resonates LOUDLY throughout all judiciaries in this land. This may just be the “crack in the dam” we’ve been waiting for.

Thank you to all involved in this monumental ruling…ACLU of Michigan & others & of course to the US 6thCircuitCourt for protecting our Constitution . Thank You greatly.
And may that ruling rumble across to all states and cause this california railroadedistry to stop and dismantle. Its ready. The Constitution Works ..!

Not to throw water on this because it’s really good news but… the opinion seems to contradict itself in some areas. Calling SORA bad while using Smith as the “guiding light” when Smith has some of the very problematic effects that SORA has. It’s a huge step but it doesn’t go far enough for me. All forms are punitive.

I would bet you could go at Alaska’s as well and walk with a win if this holds up. I’d also bet that even though it isn’t written in the way of intent, you could use the legislators floor speeches as evidence of intent to punish.

Mistake me if I’m wrong, but I thought the opinion denoted several state that regarded SORA as punitive:
NH, Me, Oka, KY, and Alaska. Michigan makes it the sixth state.

While we aren’t under SORA, California has increased said penalties, but Janice and team have fought back with residency restrictions as well as internet identifiers. But there’s so much in this opinion that can help with California as well, especially the registering in person portion.

Again, once successfully completing probation or parole, you are forced to service your time to register involuntarily with a penalty of felony punishment. That’s involuntary servitude – which is prohibited unless it is to punish crime. Thereby in California, registering is unconstitutional to its own constitution. That is, unless California then states registering is punishment – which implies it has always been punishment. Then that’s a whole new can of worms too.

Let’s use our own Constitution against the registration. We can legally define registration as punitive via California Constitution, Article 1, Section 6.

New Person:
Let me get this straight. The only way California can justify what they do according to the CA. Constitution, is pay us. We should be compensated for the time we are forced involuntarily to do something. But I think even slaves were compensated in some form. I’d like to be compensated for the 23 years I’ve been forced as a “punishment for a crime” following my probation.. They can legally punish me during the probation but not after release from probation. Then I wouldn’t be a slave to this crap any longer if you are correct in your reading of Article 1 Section 6. I’m going to research the Nevada constitution to see if they have a similar clause. Sure would be nice if they found that they owed 850,000 registrants across the country about $50K each for cruel and unusual punishment.

that would be nice ! but I would gladly wave that money to get freedom faster

Well, they can pay us, but the only consequence for not registering is held pay or loss of job (meaning we don’t get paid to register any longer). Any punishment outside of held pay or loss of job is considered involuntary servitude.

In California, the only way this is legal is if it is punishment. If it is punishment, then all registrants were given twice the punishment: once for the crime statute and another for registration. Then comes into play that the punishment is lifetime. That, in itself, is cruel and unusual.

I would sure like to see restitution. Not only is this involuntary serviitude, but the servitude only profits politicians and the penal industrial complex. The public is not getting a thing out of my servitude, not even a sense of false security. If they felt secure, they would not keep supporting every law that comes out that claims it is going to close this loophole or fix that criminal behavior. The public has has also lost thousands of dollars in taxes I would have paid if I was able to get a decent job, and it has spent thousands to pay the witch hunters. It has enriched background check operations like Family Witchhunt and Been Villified, but left the families of registrants scraping to get by.

I track these cases, here’s what I have.

Major State Supreme Court rulings held that the retroactive application of SORN laws unconstitutional:
Doe v. State, 189 P.3d 999 (Alaska 2008)
Wallace v. State, 905 N.E.2d 371 (Ind. 2009)
Maine v. Letalien, 985 A.2d 4 (Me. 2009)
State v. Williams, 952 N.E.2d 1108 (Ohio 2011)
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services v. Doe (MA March 2013)
Starkey v. Department of Corrections (OK June 25, 2013)
John Doe v. State of New Hampshire (NH February 12, 2015)

Other recent cases:
Maryland Pino v. Maryland DPSCS decided 1 April 2015
Ex Post Facto application of SORN unconstitutional

Maine – Doe v. Stephanie Anderson decided January 13, 2015
SORNA is punishment, retroactivity is unconstitutional

Massachusetts – Moe v. Sex Registry Board March 26, 2014
Retroactive addition of ALL current Level-2 Offenders (6,200) to a public on-line Registry is unconstitutional.

The strange ruling out of Kansas this year in which KS almost got it right:

on-going Nevada case:

thank you Robert ,

Robert, a number of those cases are based on STATE constitutional provisions and some still permit states to apply differing standards to out of state offenders, in some cases based on the laws of the convicting state that are in conflict with the laws. For example, if you are convicted of a Maine “10 year” crime in another state that mandates lifetime registration for pretty much ANY sex offense, Maine classifies you as a lifetime registrant. That is fairly common as many states will classify registrants based on either local state registration law or the laws of the state of conviction, WHICHEVER CLASSIFICATION IS MORE SEVERE. In some instances. like in Ohio, they just reclassify out of staters ho would have been 10 year registrants under the previous Ohio law to whatever AWA tier they feel like. if you come form a state with “lifetime” registration for any offense, even states where you can potion for removal after the AWA nadated period, they will make you a Tier III offender.
I know that under Mass law, everyone is entitled to an individual evolution now, but do you know how it works in Maryland? Do they still apply the AWA clasfficaitns to out of staters even if they wee convicted before the new law? i know that some are still using the “entered the state” or “most registered in the state” standards. In Washington it is “live offense free in the state for X years” no matter how old your offense may be. Tennessee is similar in that a 10 year offender has to have been registered for 5 years in Tennessee not matter how old the conviction and the 1000 foot rule applies during that time

I so want to get excited by this ruling. It sounds amazing. But I’m going to contain my excitement until we get an opinion from Janice. I assume this decision will be appealed by the state, so it could be several more years to actually get to SCOTUS. But the way this decision was worded is beyond belief. It’s exactly what we needed it to say.

It already has been repealed by Michigan’s AG Bill Schuette, here it is

I don’t think it will go to far though,,

there is another case in Michigan’s Supreme Court as well

Yeah, its just the AG asking to Court to reconsider. But, I doubt the Court will as the ruling of unconstitutionality was clear and concise. The Court can issue a decision that overturns an earlier ruling (the 2007 one) at any time.

It’s just procedural. While the Court is considering the request, it gives the state more time to draft an request for an en banc hearing (where all the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals Judges will hear the same case over again), or they could skip that route and appeal directly to SCOTUS.

This is a huge, huge ruling. The Court went out of its way to give SORA the business, as well as expressing a healthy dose of skepticism concerning the utility of registration as a public safety scheme and the continued viability of Smith v. Doe.

If Michigan seeks cert to SCOTUS (and they take it up), Smith v. Doe is going to get put on trial. Fingers crossed they don’t grant an en banc rehearing and reverse the unanimous panel decision.

I wouldn’t jump for joy yet. The court did emphasize “retroactive” which means going forward, the state of Michigan can continue their heinous policies on new offenders. And just because the judge used the word punishment doesn’t mean it magically voids the Alaska decision. If the state of California suddenly starting flogging registrants in a public square, any reasonable federal judge would call that punishment. But it doesn’t mean they would say the registry itself is punishment. Michigan just went beyond what’s reasonable. This ruling is very similar to a Florida ruling where a county went beyond the state’s residential ordinance restrictions by not even allowing a registrant 1,000 feet near a school bus stop. A court forced the county’s hand but it doesn’t in any way jeopardize Florida’s statewide ordinance

If Michigan states that the new laws are punitive, then doesn’t that bring a whole new can of problems for registration b/c it has now been defined as punitive? Doesn’t that incite new legal actions? As well as cruel and unusual punishment. That would also bring into question about the equal protection law as no other classes of convicts (or non-convicts for those cases dismissed) do not share the same punishment burdens as registrants.

These new laws are punishments, that’s what Michigan states.

The trend has been that new laws that are incredibly onerous and applied to people convicted before the new law was passed CAN be punitive. That is for sure an improvement, but only possible because a lot of states and localities went moot crazy with new laws.

I heard the audio version of the oral arguments and I liked when the older sounding male judge said that these laws are like blank checks and can give law makers full discretion with anything they want to do and that only monarchs do that. That is what politicians these days think and want to be like – monarchs.

The whole argument was pretty good. The researched based facts were used and accepted by the judges. Excited of the outcome and hope it triggers a domino effect that spreads like wild fire in our favor.

You are correct, sir. Even after being slapped down by state and Federal courts, Georgia still has a fair number of their incredibly onerous restrictions on people convicted after like 2005. As far as i know, the parts that of the new laws that apply to everyone are the “grandfathering” clause like in Kentucky for your home if a school. etc opens up later, the elimination of the requirement that you report all of your internet info and the ability for a lot of people to petition to get off of the registry after ten years or even less for a Tier 1 registrant. That last part is a big deal, but it assumes that you can survive in Georgia for 10 years if you have a recent conviction. Fram what i have read, the powers that be haven’t exactly fallen over themselves trying to inform registrants who are eligible to potation of their right to do so. Surprise, surprise.

Yup this is big!! Clearly an indictment of the unconstitutional Adam Walsh Act passed in 2006 that required SORA using conviction based determination of tiers, conviction based registration/ notification and retroactivity….. and all never part of the 2003 SCOTUS decisions. Certainly the smug bureaucrats in DOJ and the SMART office are raising an eyebrow at this today.

The suspense is killing me waiting to hear what Janice says
I’m not going to play armchair lawyer and try and figure out what the ruling means

E-Mail Alerts…Erwin. .. Sign up for E-Mail Alerts. Erwin….
You won’t “play armchair” with you signing up for E-Mail Alerts.
Sign up now…no “suspense” there.

Are we still doing phone conferences? I can recall the last phone conference regarding IML in late March.

Go to the RSOL website. They were sponsering the phone conferences. I’m getting email notices about the phone conferences, but seen nothing in there about IML being discussed.

Yesterday’s decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is a landmark in that it directly addresses the Supreme Court’s decision “Smith v. Doe” and yet comes to a different conclusion — the sex offender laws of Michigan impose punishment and therefore cannot be applied retroactively. Specifically, the Court states that the Supreme Court decision is not a blank check to states to do whatever the states please. It also speaks the truth when it says that sex offender laws brand registrants as “moral lepers” and put significant restrictions on where registrants can live, work and loiter without providing a public benefit. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals is to be commended for their courage and for providing us all with a foundation that could one day result in overturning “Smith v. Doe”. As we wait for that legal battle to occur, we will cite the case often as we continue our challenge of residency restrictions in California.

Thanks for getting back and providing an overview Janice
I didn’t understand the real importance of this decision.
What’s interesting is that Michigan is an AWA compliant state relying on a a tier system. And there’s been a heated debate on this forum on the pros & cons of such a system. However, just across the lake where I live in Wisconsin, laws & ordinances restricting registrants are even more reprehensible than Michigan. You probably know since you posted a couple of recent articles on Wisconsin. And we’re a non-tier state. Michigan has a 1,000 foot state rule whereas many Wisconsin communities including the largest city Milwaukee where I live has imposed 2,000 foot ordinances essentially banning all registrants including my son from many WI communities. At least a with a tier system, residency restrictions could be placed on the ones who committed the most severe offenses, but it doesn’t work that way in Wisconsin. In fact it’s just the opposite. Low level offenders (like my son convicted of possession) are severely restricted. On the other hand, legislators in Wisconsin just passed a law that allows the DOC to override local residency ordinances in placing high risk level 3 predators back into the community. Therefore, many low level offenders are facing increasing homelessness whereas high risk individuals released from institutions are being placed in homes. So I pretty much concluded that a non tier system isn’t any better and often times make things worst. But I hope this Michigan decision will put Pleasant Prairie, Milwaukee, and many other communities in Wisconsin on notice.

Ordinances are NOT LAWS and therefore CANNOT be enforced,by law enforcement, ONLY State Legislators can pass laws. Ordinances ONLY apply to State City and Municipalities, Townships and their employee’s, NOT ORDINARY CITIZENS. at least that is what it say’s in Michigan’s Constitution were i am from

“Ordinances are NOT LAWS and therefore CANNOT be enforced,by law enforcement”

Ordinances are most definitely law. And if you choose to disobey the City of Milwaukee’s Sex Offender Residency Restriction Ordinance, you’re subject to a $1,000 day fine or jail time or both. So I don’t want you giving registrants the wrong ideal that they’re not subject to city ordinances

Here’s another thing: When a city ordinance violates state or federal constitutions, those ordinances are subject to be overturned. It happened in California when a San Diego RSO residency ordinance violated the state’s constitution. An of course Michigan rso restrictions violated federal law. Also local residency ordinances don’t have to be in violation of state law to be in violation of federal law. That’s why registrants in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin filed a federal lawsuit to contest the city’s local ordinance which is not in violation of state law

Well in michigan, where i live, i have challenge ordinances many times especially in my city,they only apply to Government employee,and employers. Citizens. I will have to look it up in my Michigan Constitution,but it CLEARLY states ONLY the Michigan Legislature can pass laws. NOT Cities or towns or townships,or counties or Municipalities. Just the Michigan Legislature.

You’re probably right Bobby that laws pertaining to sex offenders are all coming from the state of Michigan because they are the entity challenged in the lawsuit. Locales including Detroit don’t have ordinances preventing registrants from living there (if you can stomach it).
Seems the state set standard laws for every city & town in Michigan. It’s just the opposite in Wisconsin. Towns & cities write and enforce the ordinances governing rso’s. But the state of Wisconsin is more limited in scope in their laws except ones governing the DOC release of chapter 980 sexually violent persons who are subject to a 2,000 foot rule for the entire state. Plus state law requires released offenders to return to their county of conviction. But I think this applies to all released inmates, not just ones convicted of a sex offense

Janice, have you heard any rumblings about anyone trying to challenge the public internet registries because of what they have morphed into in the last ten years or so? I have been on the Florida registry sinn 2000, but prior to like 2008, I really only had one issue with a card carrying member of the general public and my cop neighbor allayed his fears. . That has not been the case since 2008-2009. I have had “stalkers” on line since them basically sabotaging anything that I tried to do to make a living. Likewise, state collecting all of my internet information has caused to to not only be kicked off of Facebook and all of their other products (arguably in violation of California law which is what Facebook makes you chose for disputes) bit also a number of on line forums where I had done a fair amount of business over the last 15 years.

this is great news but Alaska’s Supreme Court has already made this same ruling basically overturning (I would think) the 2003 case…

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Alaska Supreme Court Declares Sex Offender Registration Law Unconstitutional
On July 25, 2008, the Alaska Supreme Court declared Alaska’s Sex Offender Registration Act unconstitutional. In a blog that I posted on this website on June 5, 2008 entitled “Sex Offender Registration: Is It Punishment?,” I observed that “[i]n the case of Smith v. Doe, the [United States Supreme] Court ruled that Alaska’s sex-offender registration statute did not violate the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution because the Alaska State Legislature’s intention in passing that particular law was not to punish sex offenders but rather to create a ‘civil, nonpunitive regime.’ ” I concluded that posting by opining that although courts may call sex offender statutes nonpunitive, they certainly seem punitive to me (and apparently to many others based upon the response that I have had to that posting). It appears that the Alaska Supreme Court shares my view because it recently declared Alaska’s Sex Offender Registration Act (“ASORA”) unconstitutional in the case of John Doe v. State of Alaska. In John Doe, Alaska’s High Court stated in relevant part that: We first ask “[w]hether the sanction involves an affirmative disability or
restraint.” The state argues that ASORA involves neither because it imposes no
physical restraint, has obligations less harsh than occupational debarment — which the
Supreme Court has held to be non-punitive — and, in the Supreme Court’s words,
“restrains [no] activities sex offenders may pursue but leaves them free to change jobs
or residences.” But even though the statute imposes no physical restraints, we agree with Justice Stevens’s dissenting comments in Smith that ASORA “impose[s] significant affirmative obligations and a severe stigma on every person to whom [it] appl[ies].” First, ASORA compels affirmative post-discharge conduct (mandating registration, reregistration, disclosure of public and private information, and updating of that information) under threat of prosecution. The duties are significant and intrusive, because they compel offenders to contact law enforcement agencies and disclose information, some of which is otherwise private, most of it for public dissemination.
Furthermore, the time periods associated with ASORA are intrusive. Sex offenders convicted of an aggravated sex offense or two or more sex offenses must re-register quarterly for the rest of their lives; all other offenders must re-register annually for fifteen years. All sex offenders who change residences must notify the state trooper office or municipal police department closest to their new residences within one working day. As we stated in Doe v. State, Department of Public Safety (Doe A), “ASORA thus treats offenders not much differently than the state treats probationers and parolees subject to continued state supervision.” Second, we agree with the conclusion of Justice Ginsburg, also dissenting in Smith, that ASORA “exposes registrants, through aggressive public notification of their crimes, to profound humiliation and community-wide ostracism.” In the decision reversed in Smith, the Ninth Circuit observed that “[b]y posting [registrants’] names, addresses, and employer addresses on the internet, the Act subjects [registrants] to community obloquy and scorn that damage them personally and professionally.” The Ninth Circuit observed that the practical effect of this dissemination is that it leaves open the possibility that the registrant will be denied employment and housing opportunities as a result of community hostility. As Justice Souter noted in concurring in Smith, “there is significant evidence of onerous practical effects of being listed on a sex offender registry.” Outside Alaska, there have been reports of incidents of suicide by and vigilantism against offenders on state registries. We also disagree with the Supreme Court’s conclusion in Smith that the obligations ASORA imposes are less harsh than the occupational debarment which the Court has held to be non-punitive. The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of post-conduct professional sanctions that included the prohibition of further participation in the banking industry and revocation of medical licenses. A comparable bar for sex offenders who pose a risk to children might be employment in places frequented by children. But the practical effects here can predictably extend to all employment opportunities as well as to all other non-employment aspects of life, including housing opportunities. There are published reports that offenders are sometimes subjected to protests and group actions designed to force them out of their jobs and homes. We agree that “[t]he practical effect of such unrestricted dissemination could make it impossible for the offender to find housing or employment.” I would suggest that anyone interested in the subject of sex offender registration laws read the John Doe opinion in its entirety because of its well-reasoned approach to a very emotionally-charged issue.
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does anyone know when ca started publicly accessible Megan’s law and what kind of changes occurred after June 6 2006?

sorry I just copied and pasted the info I’ll just give a link for any other articles

here’s the basis of their opinion. In the event of an almost certain appeal, any thoughts as to how the U.S. Supreme Court could find fault in this and over turn it?

” We conclude that Michigan’s SORA imposes punishment. And while many (certainly not all) sex offenses involve abominable, almost unspeakable, conduct that deserves severe legal penalties, punishment may never be retroactively imposed or increased. Indeed, the fact that sex offenders are so widely feared and disdained by the general public implicates the core countermajoritarian principle embodied in the Ex Post Facto clause. As the founders rightly perceived, as dangerous as it may be not to punish someone, it is far more dangerous to permit the government under guise of civil regulation to punish people without prior notice. Such lawmaking has “been, in all ages, [a] favorite and most formidable instrument[] of tyranny.” The Federalist No. 84, supra at 444 (Alexander Hamilton). It is, as Justice Chase argued, incompatible with both the words of the Constitution and the underlying first principles of “our free republican governments.” Calder, 3 U.S. at 388–89; accord The Federalist No. 44, supra at 232 (James Madison) (“[E]x post facto laws . . . are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.”). The retroactive application of SORA’s 2006 and 2011 amendments to Plaintiffs is unconstitutional, and it must therefore cease.”

Michigan’s AG Bill Scheutte has already asked the 6th Circuit to re open a dispute,which i think is laughable. I am from Michigan

here is the link

Hi Bobby, What’s the dispute in reference to?

Hi PK,

I may have worded it wrong,but basically he was the 6th circuit to reconsider the ruling on the grounds that the Court nor the state brought up and argument from 2007 in Tennessee were the 6th circuit said that making Tennessee SO’s were GPS Monitors did not violate the Constitution’s ex pose facto clause. He admits that the state did not bring this up either,but neither did the court,personally, I think our IDIOT AG,is grasping at straws now.

I don’t see the 6th Circuit reversing it’s self in this case, I just wish they would hurry up and make it final. I have been on this STUPID thing since 1996. I was convicted in 1992 before Michigan even had a registry, they even changed the registrations dates. Mine was 1995 ,but they changed my registration date to my conviction date of 1992. This has to be illegal and unconstitutional in my opinion. Basically he is asking for a reversal on a Tennessee ruling from 2007. WHAT AN IDIOT OUR AG IS.

This could possibly lead to invalidating AWA and IML. I’m certain it’s red meat in Janice’s lawsuit!

When I was first convicted in 2001 there was nothing of significance or painful I found about the California state SO laws–there was no website–someone would have to have a reason to go to the local pd to view a cd rom. Now I wouldn’t mind going all the way back to those days–pre static 99r and still a path to rehab!

Yesterday I drove past the neighborhood LAPD station where I used to register each year with the same easy-going, Polaroid-packing civilian employee and thought of “the good old days.” That ship sailed in 2006 w/ the Megan’s Law website and the public hysteria over un-tracked RSOs and now I must drive another 10 miles to armpit of Los Angeles to register at 6 a.m. so I can beat traffic and get to work on time. And the cops that do the registering are usually total dicks.
Registration was never really no more inconvenient that going to the dentist. Indeed, after last week’s deep cleaning, I’ll take the registration process of yesteryear any day! Man, what I would give to get rid of that f’ing registry and get rid of those sadistic slime that run Homefacts and the like.

David, it is crazy for everyone. we have our common problems and some weird different ones too. I WISH that Florida used the Static 99R to determine tier levels!!!

Yeah, in 2000 I was under the assumption registration was part of my sentencing and therfore unchangeble without due process and like you said, it was very different than today. Then Smith vs. Doe changed that. If someone can overturn that decision, then the vast majority of us would be better off, even of we still had to register, but many more would get off completely, even those in tiered states, more so by hundreds of thousands more than any proposed restructuring of the registry would accomplish. Well, we can dream.

This is good news: it shows that incremental restrictions has a limit; that one can’t go willy-nilly, tightening the screws on registrants. But this doesn’t contradict the Alaska ruling, because the police can still use the SO registry for themselves, and require people to register. As for all the other extra stuff they put in the registry laws, that’s a different story.

A better strategy is to make these laws as bare bones as possible, strip them down to just the requirement to register, rather than attack the main idea and legality of the registry itself, which SCOTUS has already addressed.

Wrong. SCOTUS can and has revisited cases before. The idea that we should just leave the registry itself alone because SCOTUS has “ruled” on it before is ridiculous.

On another thread just two days ago people were arguing for Californians to accept an AWA tier system. Many of them declared THAT as the BEST way forward and BAM we get Michigan.

So uh, nope.

man the following part of the court’s decision is extremely and I mean more extremely important than words can state to our cause and the issue that will abolish the current registration scheme….it’s what I have been preaching for awhile now and been told it will never work….the following issue is the silver bullet and the time and issue is ripe for SCOTUS….

Michigan points out that these restraints are not physical in nature and contends that the actual effects are therefore ‘minor and indirect’ … But surely something is not ‘minor and indirect’ just because no one is being lugged off in cold irons bound,” the judge wrote. “Indeed, those irons are always in the background since failure to comply with these restrictions carries with it the threat of serious punishment, including imprisonment.”

The court added there was no credible evidence that such laws prevent recidivism or really protect the public. Rather, Batchelder wrote, they are “retributive,” marking “registrants as ones who cannot be fully admitted into the community.”

Interestingly, the Judge that wrote the unanimous opinion of the panel is a George W Bush appointee.

Most the judges in the 6th circuit are pre Obama.

We have been seeing this a little bit in the last few years. . Judges are finally saying “enough is enough. You have finally managed to cross that blurred line between administrative and punitive”

Logically then, according to Judge Batchelder, IML applied to anyone convicted before Feb 8, 2016 would clearly be ex post facto punishment. The impositions of IML are certainly as arduous as those in the Mich case. Why wouldn’t it make sense to file a new case in the Sixth District challenging IML (maybe enlisting the same ACLU and the amici law professors). I note that the Mich case was filed in 2012, so as we have all agonized over — the time frame is glacial. Assuming Mich appeals to SCOTUS, that might bring the showdown sooner, but then that would likely only overturn the Mich SORA, and would that bring down IML? If a state registration law can only be applied to someone convicted before its implementation, wouldn’t it be administratively impossible to enforce. Every RSO would have a different set of rules.

I’m thinking the 6th Circuit would not be a bad place to re-file the IML Challenge if it comes down to that.

To everything Turn Turn Turn
There is a reason Turn Turn Turn,
That song by The Byrds , sure sounds good.

Just had time to read this, maybe some of the others who have said time to challenge the registry might be right, but I know it will take Money.

Just what we have been saying all along. What took them so long to get it?

The ruling sounds good but be careful what you wish for.
Always depending on the courts can sometimes backfire. Washington State is a perfect example. Remember that woman (a so called victim’s advocate) sued for the right to have access to information on low level offenders? The Washington Supreme Court upheld her right so now she can put up our pretty pictures on her private website

I’m being careful not to trip over my furniture while I’m dancing over the news. 🙂

Yes, I’m aware how the government can twist something to their favor but we still have to make our moves to abolish. I’m sure this isn’t the end of the Michigan fight, either way.

Just to add: Los Angeles’ ACLU chapter won’t touch a sex offender issue with a 10-foot pole. Yet it’s amazing to see other ACLU chapters — such as that in Michigan — take a more proactive approach. Maybe one day the Southern California chapter will join the “alliance” in fighting “sex offender” registration schemes.

People have been saying the same thing about the ACLU and the 2nd Amendment for years. Even a former senior attorney for the organization said a couple of years ago that their record, or lack thereof, on the 2nd was their “great embarrassment.”

That senior attorney got it wrong. The NRA has been representing 2nd amendment rights since 1871. The organization is much more powerful and well funded than the ACLU which has meager resources. NRA members are mostly middle class and not broke like most clients represented by the ACLU. So it would be foolish for the ACLU to throw their limited resources behind 2nd amendment rights when a powerful organization is already doing that.
Plus ask yourself. What has the NRA done for registrants? Some states have passed laws against registrants owning guns but the NRA has ran from the issue. At least the ACLU has done much work on behalf of registrants but the organization can’t be there all the time. Perhaps the ACLU chapter in LA and other parts of California have not taken up cases because……wait for it…Janice and her team are already doing a terrific job! And remember, the ACLU LA chapter gives her space to work from. You wouldn’t find the Los Angeles NRA chapter allowing a sex offender advocacy group allow use of it’s office space

Erwi< great points !

Some on this forum have bashed the ACLU for not being there or not doing enough. Now is a good time for those individuals to reflect on how much that organization has really done. Lot more than the N.R.A.
I’m still waiting for that multi-million dollar lobby group to defend gun rights for registrants who want to protect ourselves from the vigilante nutcases

Doc Martin < great points , and they are the kind of point that most don't even want to talk about ,

The more I look into this case, this week’s decision isn’t the only time the state of Michigan ran afoul of the constitution.

A federal judge just last year struck down a 1,000 ft sex offender exclusion zone. The law was vague, it didn’t define property zones, sometimes vacant lots where schools used to exist were no go zones. A guess legislators eventually cleaned the law up to make it constitutional. Which goes to show that they may do the same thing with this latest ruling. Politicians will change a few words here and there to try and make it past muster. However the key difference is the court of appeals came out this week and admitted extra amendments by legislators amount to punishment

Dear friends, am I imagining things or did the 6th Circuit just knock the legs out from under the classification requirements of the Adam Walsh Act, at least in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee? I wonder what that will do to out of staters in Ohio who were convicted before the AWA became law, but were apparently not covered by the prior court decisions saying that the old 10 year rule and not the new 15-25 rules applied to pre AWA Ohio convictions? I wonder if this will also short circuit the “reclassification” scheme that they apparently have in Ohio now for old convictions where am out of state “sexually oriented offender” somehow magically becomes a Tier III offender? 😉

Call me crazy but it sure looks like Alaska’s original law could easily be challenged based on the false “supporting grounds” that were used to justify it.

‘Unfounded statistics
According to a study by law Professor Ira Mark Ellman and Consultant Tara Ellman, statistics cited by Justice Kennedy are “false ‘facts’ “. The study found that in McKune v. Lile, the solicitor general provided only one citation to support its claim “that the recidivism rate of untreated offenders has been estimated to be as high as 80%.” According to the study, the source for the claim was the “U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Corrections, A Practitioner’s Guide to Treating the Incarcerated Male Sex Offender”, released in 1988. The study found the Practitioners Guide itself cites only one source which originates from “a mass market magazine aimed at a lay audience”, and was bare assertion with no supporting citations by a treatment program counselor, who is not a scholar and has no expertise in
sex offender recidivism. Furthermore, the article was about counseling program the counselor run in Oregon prison, not about sex crime recidivism. The study concludes that the claim of high re-offense rates among all sex offenders, and the effectiveness of counseling programs in reducing it, was merely “unsupported assertion of someone without research expertise who made his living selling such counseling programs to prisons”, and that use of the unsourced statistics in McKune v. Lile was irresponsible. [2][3]

that was interesting , it don’t seem like it would be that bad , it also looked like the state of MO is ripe as well , take a gander at that

I saw that! It might be a little while longer but it’s going to crumble. And I’m not talking decades like the sheep are saying.

The issue wasn’t 80% vs. 1% or whatever, the issue before them was ex post facto punishment. You can’t punish someone after the fact even if the re-offense rate for the defined group is high. Individual rights, not punishment of a group, that’s the Constitution. It was kind of a stupid thing for the supreme court to bring up, since the plaintiffs were only arguing that they were put on the registry after the fact — after they were already sentenced years ago, and that the registry is a form of punishment. I guess it was Roberts showing the country what a knight in shining armor he was battling the sex offender menace. True theater. If the rate truly was high, that is only an argument for increased penalties for new crimes, it has nothing to do with after the fact.


Why hasn’t there been a challenge to the reasoning and statistics used in Smith vs Doe?? We all know they were false and 20 years later there have been many more studies that all go completely against the origins of “frightening and high” Their “strict scrutiny” should be under scrutiny now.

That is why I see it as stupid, the lack of evidence for the “frightening and high” calls into question the integrity of other arguments. It was a self serving move to advance a career. Yet it did work, and the floodgates were propped open for all the crazy proposals already flowing into law at the time, Don’t ask me why. I have never understood it.

After writing this it came to me, by forcing every offender to register, even offenders whose crime was before the law, they have have eliminated a group of non registrants that can be compared to registrants with similar offenses. Those non registrants could have served as a good control group to assess wether registration was producing a decreased offense rate or not. Just a thought.

I know it would mean that registrants in the 56 other states other than the 4 in the Sixth Circuit would have to wait for relief, but if the Michigan based Sixth Circuit didn’t get opposed and the SCOTUS doesn’t take it up, then gutting the registries of those 4 states for a long period of time could and I think certainly would show that re-offense rates would go down in those 4 states. I think the bigger point it would show is less victimization by non-registrants committing the 95+% of current sex crimes because more focus would be on them for a change.

46 states, but I get your point, but add that without the draconian consequenses for outing your family member combined with a restoratve and healing approach many more would come forward and that 95% will be reduced, also.

How many offenders go “untreated” these days? Last time I checked, even the FBI figures say that the 5 year SEXUAL OFFENSE recidivism rate for those who have complete their mandated therapy is like 4% or 10% of the typical recidivism rate for a number of others convicted of other felonies.

Wow. You mean to tell me someone in the justice system recognized an injustice. Push me over with a feather!
I thought they just sat around and waited for more B.S. laws to uphold.
I might get some faith back in a flawed system. Oh, bite my tongue!

The Sixth Circuit decision is starting to get picked up in mainstream (non legal) media. Very encouraging sign. This article yesterday in New York magazine, very popular with influential opinion makers.

“Judges Are Starting to Question Overzealous Sex-Offender Laws”

Does anyone know what the “tiers” and the registration periods were in Michigan before the adoption of the 15-25-Life AWA standards? The decision mentioned in passing the retractive reclassification of people but didn’t rally say anything about whether or not some people had been kept on the registry beyond the original term they were given under the old law. The current Michigan law is still labeled as the original 1994 act, but it appears in the amended 2006/2011 form.

I’m in Michigan and my case was in 1995. Michigans last prior major update to the registry prior to 2006 was in 1999. I believe this is what is still affect even though it requires in person reporting and it makes the SOR on the Internet but it does end registration after 25 years from the date first registered or 10 years after release from prison, whichever is longer.

Joe, I am also from Michigan, and my case and conviction was in 1992,before Michigan even had a Registry,i was out by 94,and off parole in 96. so i was put on it illegally with out the right to due process. I should of NEVER have been put on it to begin with,and they knew they were violating both The US and Michigan’s Constiutions,and did not care

I am from Michigan, and i went from 15 years to a life time registration,and have been on it now for 20, but i was told by Ms Aukerman from the ACLU, i will probavly be removed,since i was convicted in 1992 before we (Michigan) even had a registry.

It doesn’t help what Miss Doe said. Thanks a lot lady

“201. Ms. Doe believes that there should be a sex offender registry, but that it
should be a risk-based: individuals who rehabilitate themselves, own up to their
pasts, and rebuild their lives should not remain on the registry forever. The registry
should be limited to “the ones that are the molesters, the ones that are actively pur-
suing the children.” Mary Doe Dep 99 ln 24–102 ln 23, Exh 6.”

This is an example of tiering gone bad. Michigan tiered its registry in 2011 into three levels, just as CASOMB is proposing.

Of course the 2nd and 3rd tiered levels have nothing to do with public safety. But it’s all about keeping more people on the registry so that law enforcement and prosecutors have more jobs and salaries to pay.

Again, exactly why CASOMB is pushing “tiered” registry, haha.

I would say it’s less about the tier system and more about legislators in Michigan who aggressively started amending the state registry back in 2006 when they added the 1,000 foot rule against offenders loitering, living or working near a school. Heck, even a vacant lot where a school used to be counted as a no go zone. As long as Michigan politicians were on a war path against registered offenders, it wouldn’t have made a hill of beans difference if they hadn’t set up a tier system in 2011 except instead of a select few getting f uped the as, every registrant would be getting f uped the as. Just look at what’s happening in non tier Wisconsin. They leave it up to towns & cities to set 2,000, 3,000 foot rules. Makes Michigan’s 1,000 ft law look like child’s play. At least no local law is stopping offenders from living in Detroit (that’s if they have the balls to live there in the first place). Come to think of it, maybe that’s Michigan’s way of punishing us. Hey! You guys still got Motown to live!

Doc Martin said ” Just look at what’s happening in non tier Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin is a tiered state. Even with serial killers Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer being from there, they still decided to not sentence someone to a life of harassment for taking a piss by the side of the freeway.

Well yes and no. You’re correct that Wisconsin uses 3 tiers but not in the traditional way as SORNA compliant states like Michigan. As a non SORNA state, Wisconsin tiers are based more on offense than risk & static-99 predictability. HOWEVER, the state has some wicked local residency ordinances much worst than Michigan

“Again, exactly why CASOMB is pushing “tiered” registry, haha.”

I find your statement confusing. You said CASOMB is pushing “tiered” registry in order to keep more people on the registry so that law enforcement and prosecutors have more jobs and salaries to pay.

However, if that were true, wouldn’t CASOMB not advocate for tiered registry and just advocate to keep things exactly the same as they are now to keep all risk levels registering for life?

I think they are cutting their losses. They know that people are getting smarter about their “scheme,” so they’re coming up with a “solution” to make things “better.” In reality, if CASOMB were on our side they would simply admit there is no evidence proving registration as effective and they would support all-out abolition or at least individualized assessment.

Rather, CASOMB continues to peddle tiered registry that would only grow government bureaucracy, Remember, CASOMB still pushes for unscientific schemes like the polygraph. So IMO, these people are not our friends..

The Michigan AG Bill Schuette has already asked the 6th circuit to reconsider there decision, there is also a case in Michigan’s Supreme Court. I am from Michigan and have been on the STUPID registry since 1995,and i was convicted in 1992 before Michigan even had a Registry. Anyway here are the two sites.


I keep in touch with Ms Aukerman from Michigan’s ACLU all the time on what is going on with the 6th circuits decision

Luckily, the State Supreme Court is lower court system than the Federal Courts when it come to the U.S. Constitution. The Michigan Supreme Court decision has ZERO precedence over the Federal Court of Appeals, I doubt the AG will sway the federal court.

Update on motion to stay the decision to allow the state to appeal. On November 7, 2016, the court denied the State’s motion to stay mandate. This means the decision is in effect within the Sixth Circuit.

“Upon consideration of the motion to stay the mandate filed by Richard Snyder and
Kriste Etue,

It is ORDERED that the motion be and it hereby is, DENIED.”

When will we know if they request SCOTUS to look at it?

I assume if they do it is at least a year before SCOTUS says if they will even take it since they already announced this year’s cases. Is that correct?

Now that they call it “punishment”, does that mean lawsuits can start claiming it is “cruel and unusual” or any other violations so that we can start to dismantle this registry for all, and not just those whose crimes were before the registry? Do we have to wait for a SCOTUS acceptance/denial of hearing the case?

Oooooooooooh My.
They’ve already asked the Court … Do they respect & defend the 6th US District Court decision Constitutional basis . 6th Circuit decision is effective now as there is no stay to NOT go in effect.
Its a T r e m e n d o u s decision.

Okay I was convicted in April of 2004, in Michigan my question is what does this mean for me and my family going forward

Nothing, yet. Waiting to see what SCOTUS is going to do. So far, MI asked SCOTUS to review the decision by the 6th Circuit.

SCOTUS has asked the U.S. Solicitor General for his opinion.

It’ll be fall before anything further is known.


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