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MI: Michigan asks federal court to revise opinion on sex offender registry rules

The state of Michigan wants a federal appeals court to take a second look at an opinion on the state’s sex offender registry. 

The U.S. Court of Appeals issued an opinion Aug. 25 saying Michigan’s sex offender registry rules cannot be applied retroactively to thousands of sex offenders. The state Attorney General and Solicitor General offices filed a Sept. 8 request with the federal appeals court for a second opinion. Full Article

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  1. nomore

    “Can you please just reverse what you’ve said so we can keep our business going? Pretty please?” lol

  2. G4Change

    Oh Boo Hoo. They don’t like the court’s ruling, so they’re throwing a fit! What a crock of crap!


    Hey, can I have a do over? Lol.

  4. cool CA RC

    I think this is where we need to donate as much as we can to keep this from being reversed. Now ALL states can get involved wit this not just California

    • W.C._TN

      The state is trying to use an earlier ruling from my home state of TN to convince the court to reverse itself. However, if you read Doe v. Bredesen, you’ll see that one of the cases guiding the decision for this case was Smith v. Doe. The current 6th Circuit court held that this old ruling is no longer germane because the registry has morphed into something far more sinister and insidious than a simple community notification scheme, which is what the Alaska registry was at the time of that challenge. Now it is a law that dictates and disables every sphere of a registered citizen’s life.

      I hope that backdoor politics doesn’t get this ruling vacated. This is the first court that’s been honest enough to call the registry for what it is; unending punishment under the guise of civil regulation.

    • W.C._TN

      There’s one thing I worry about if the day comes that the registry gets struck down across the board: a huge spike in vigilante violence against known registered citizens. The state of Minnesota has been trying to find placement for those citizens finally being released from civil commitment and honest to God I read that a protester who opposes sex offenders in their community actually threatened the children of one of the people trying to set up safe, decent housing for these people. Now isn’t that the height of hypocrisy!! Those who care oh so much for child safety threatening bodily harm to a child. That person should be arrested and jailed for such a brazen, heinous threat!!! Our society is like a pack of rabid dogs foaming at the mouth when it comes to sex offenders. That’s the real face of these laws.

  5. nomore

    No doubt they’re working the back channels to get their way.

    Hey 72FLH,

    Did you see everyone’s replies? The turn style went into overdrive and pushed a lot of comments to the text link. Anyway, how’d the visit go?

  6. David M

    Many probably already head JJ Prescott’s argument as to why the registry is punishment. For those that didn’t… here is his reasoning. Audio interview.

    • Registered Resistance

      Thanks for that link, David.
      (It would be great if Professor Prescott could appear on one of National Public Radio’s prime-time programs, thereby reaching a much broader listener audience. And yes, I am pitching that idea to NPR.)

  7. MatthewLL

    I just looked it up, the three panel of judges denied the State for a rehearing on the court’s decision. It took them just a week to respond to the petition. I have not seen a filing seeking an en blanc hearing yet of the full sixth circuit.

    • MatthewLL

      The State of Michigan just filed (9/22/2016) a motion to stay the ruling while they appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Will be interesting to see what the Sixth Circuit does with this. It seems hard for the court to force the Appellants to comply with the more onerous provisions when the court made a strong ruling that the provisions were punitive.

      • Dennis


        What link are you getting this information from regarding the motion to stay, etc? I am unable to locate it. Thanks

        • New Person

          I would like to see a link too, please, if possible. Thank you!

        • MatthewLL

          I have a PACER account which gives me access to federal cases online. I can email or post the document somewhere.

        • Dennis

          Can you email me or keep me updated?

        • Bobby

          What is a pacer account,and where can i find this information, I am in Michigan and i am trying to keep up with what is happening with the case. Thank you

      • Joe

        So does this mean that they have abandoned their petition for an en banc rehearing? This is a strange situation in that I am wondering which would be better, the SCOTUS actually hearing the case with the risk that entails or refusing to take it up on cert, thereby leaving the 6th’s ruling as it stands for now? Is it better tho have the 6th’s ruling as a persuasive piece of law in other Circuits or to have the SCOTUS basically blow it’s decisions and other favorable ones that have come out of the Federal District Courts in places like Kentucky and Georgia among others?

        • JohnDoeUtah

          It appears so, it seems they are not going to bother with an en banc hearing. I don’t really blame them, as SCOTUS has already declared SORNA/AWA/Registration non-punitive, regulatory and thus not a violation of expost facto.

          The State of Michigan just made this case, THE CASE, that will decide the status of the registry for the next 10-20 years. Will they rule as they did in 2003? Hopefully, they will not hear the case until after the 9th justice is confirmed to the Court.

        • nomore

          Awhile back I stated I had some potentially bad news about this case but was waiting till they decided things further. Well here it is… the 6th has the worst record against the supreme court. I believe they’ve had 25 cases/decisions to go to SCOTUS and 24 lost/overturned. The worst record out of all. As for a new appointee.. we may have a better chance with a possible split no?

        • Chris F

          A split 4/4 SCOTUS would mean that the ruling stands from the 6th, but I’m not sure if that means the ruling also won’t mean anything nationally because SCOTUS majority didn’t create a true decision. Hmmm….it may take a full SCOTUS or majority of the 8 to create a true precedent.

        • JohnDoeUtah

          I’m not sure, based on some remarks made in a hearing this last year regarding the precursor case for IML, the justices overturned they guys conviction due to the technical language of the law at the time he left the United States – but made reference to IML closing that loophole and all seemed to support the new law.

          I don’t see us getting a 4-4 Split decision to begin with, but you never know. We know Roberts and Alito will vote for sex offender laws hands down, the others are a crap shoot.

        • Rick

          The 6th circuit may have a bad record with the scrotus, but in this case I think they might have to agree with them. This case is different, the state of Michigan has created a mess, and as the 6th circuit was clear to point out the Smith v. Doe decision was not based on a person who was subjected to so many restrictions. I don’t think they will let the registration go, but they might intervene and say it has limits. Like, they might get rid of personal reporting, just a thought. And then again, they might just blow it up, arguing that it’s initial basis may have appeared non punitive, but after careful analysis, the fed and states are using it punitively. I have seen this happen before, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

        • Timmr

          I think if they reapply the “test” for punishment now the conclusion might be different. But maybe not. I never thought they would shoot down registration, but at least shoot down its retroactive application. I mean, isn’t it obvious it is tied to the crime, through plea bargain or sentence? That is how it was exlained to me. I get suspended prison sentence in exchange for guilty plee, restitution, therapy, probation and lifetime registration as I knew it at the time. I didn’t know I was signing a blank check.

        • W.C._TN

          Look at how many make their livings off of enforcing these Megan’s Law registries across the nation at the local, state, and federal levels. You can bet someone somewhere will be playing back room politics at every turn to preserve the registry as it is. I look for John Walsh to get involved in the fray since he single-handedly pushed through the A.W.A. in a closed session of Congress without one whit of public discussion or debate.

      • Joe

        The follow up question is do we currently have a real conflict among the Federal Circuits at this time that might trigger cert or have most of the favorable decisions been at the Federal trial court and state appellate/Supreme court level? Obviously, Kentucky and Ohio are covered b this latest decison, so their previous decisions are affirmed in part and even expanded. But what about places like Georgia? As I recall, Georgia got hammered a coupel of times not only by the Federal District Court, but also by the Georgia Supreme Court, so I don’t think that the cases ever got the the 11th Circuit. They just modified the laws to remove the registrants convicted before the passage of the newer laws from the more onerous residence and work restrictions, killed the part that said you had to move even if you had already established residence, and eliminated the internet identifier provision.

        • JohnDoeUtah

          It depends. They could ask the lower courts to vacate their prior rulings based on a new SCOTUS confirmation that none of this is punitive.

          On the flip side, if SCOTUS confirms that certain parts of the laws (as morphed since Smith v. Doe) are unconstitutional, we can in turn request that all decisions against us in the last 3-4 years be vacated and rehearing based on SCOTUS’s decision. I plan to do so in Doe v. Shurtleff, once that day comes.

      • W.C._TN

        All I can say is this, the lawyers that argue on the offenders’ behalf better have their stuff together and be ready because every dirty obscure legal trick is going to be deployed mercilessly in defense of the cherished registry and all it entails. This needs to be handled by someone with the experience and moxie of Janice Bellucci.

  8. mike

    The original 03 decision was based on bad information, and since that time the laws have morphed into extremely punitive. I hope that if this case does get a hearing that all of our resources are brought to bear to help the plaintiffs in Michigan. While the states can claim that the laws are only regulatory, it would be hard for anyone now to link them to be as simple as a Price Club membership. The de facto effects of the registry are extremely punitive.

  9. steve

    So now that there is a precedent, can we can take California back to court for such laws like Megan’s Law website?

    • JohnDoeUtah

      Sadly, this ruling only directly applies to the 6th Circuit. However, it can be cited in other Circuits, but is not precedence in those other Circuits. Seeing that it directly contradicts Smith v. Doe, I’m not to sure how much weight other Circuits would give it, if any; but, only time will tell if it has a lasting impact – lets hope it does.

  10. MatthewLL

    Status of case as of today.

    State motioned for reconsideration of its opinion (9/08/16), but was denied (9/15/16).

    State motioned for stay of mandate while it appeals to the US Supreme Court (922/16), court granted before John Does answered (9/28/16).

    John Does motioned for reconsideration of stay so that they may file in opposition to stay (9/29/16), court granted and removed stay (10/04/16).

    State submitted a reply (10/04/16).

    Right now, the court has not placed its order and opinion on hold while the state appeals to the supreme court. I presume the issue to stay its decision until the appeal to the State appeals to the supreme court will be settled sometime this week.

    • New Person

      Thanks for the update!

      And thanks in advance for keep us updated. All this matters as this Michigan decision will probably matter on its way to the SCOTUS.

    • Cat & Mouse game

      Bloody cat and mouse game it appears…..

    • JohnDoeUtah

      The next step for the State is to ask SCOTUS to stay the 6th Circuit’s Decision. Such a request can be approved by the justice over the applicable circuit, which for the 6th Circuit is: Justice Elena Kagan

    • W.C._TN

      Thanks for the update MattewLL

  11. Ann

    In my opinion inflicting more punishment on those who were already on the registry before the 2006 laws were passed, let alone the 2011 laws, basically amounts to Double Jeopardy. You can’t come back years later, and punish someone for the same crime twice. So basically attorneys can argue Double Jeopardy, violation of Due Process, or violation of the Ex Post Facto clause. And what many don’t realize, it’s not the sex offenders that are constantly reoffending, it’s those with drug charges, check fraud, and the such. Sure, there are some that are just plain sick, and don’t care. But those are few and far between.

  12. Bill Arthur

    Our future is in Justice Kagan’s hands! Maybe she will decline to issue a stay even before Trump gets his new judge. Or, if not, the case will be accepted for review by the Supreme Court, and we will get a new hearing on the legitimacy of registration.

    LANSING, Mich. (AP) – (11/14/16) – Michigan is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to halt a lower court decision that found the state unconstitutionally put additional restrictions on registered sex offenders long after their convictions. In an emergency appeal, the state says it shouldn’t be forced to change sex offender registration and enforcement protocols without a full review by the high court. In August, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said changes to Michigan law in 2006 and 2011, which include restricting sex offenders’ movements near schools, penalize offenders as “moral lepers” and can’t be retroactive.

    The appeals court denied Michigan’s request to block the decision during appeal, and Attorney General Bill Schuette now wants the Supreme Court to issue a stay. The high court said Monday the request was referred to Justice Elena Kagan.

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