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MI: Sex offender laws and the 6th Circuit’s Ex Post Facto Clause ruling

The Volokh Conspiracy: I wanted to add a few words to co-blogger Jonathan Adler’s posting about the recent 6th Circuit decision in Doe v. Snyder, in which the court voided application of the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) on the grounds that it imposes retroactive punishment on previously convicted sex offenders in violation of the constitutional prohibition against Ex Post Facto laws. Full Editorial


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

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Very good article.

If only all cases challenging sex offender laws were this thorough we would have been rid of this harmful registry 13 years ago.

Nothing hurts the cause worse than unmotivated, unprepared, or just bad lawyers.

I would love to see Janice get a case all the way to SCOTUS and put an end to this blatant violation of the constitution that harms far more families and children than it could ever help.

This is a tremendous article, but better still are the points and rationale that the court made in their opinion. This should serve as a blue print to attack registration schemes in all of the 50 states and in the Federal courts. Let us raise the money and attack the registry in Federal court.
Start a GoFundMe campaign with the purpose of overturning Smith v Doe and get the word out to all of the state and local organizations.
Let us not wait any longer.

Ditto on that, Chris!
Let Janice show ’em how its done!

Don’t forget just bad public servants and the uninformed public in general. That’s where this all comes from.

I recommend that all RCs read this well-written article because it talks about the core issues of the registry.

A good project for someone would be to look up what the laws were in the states in the 6th and see how many times they have been changed and what they said in each iteration. I know that Kentucky passed some very draconian ones and they were knocked down. Same thing with Ohio. One RS activist that I know of was “reclassified” as a Tier 3 registrant for a minor offense involving no sexual contact in the way that most people would define it, to wit, French kissing an 11 year old female relative 14 years ago when he was like 18. Why is he classified as the worst of the worst? Because he moved from Alabama where ALL registrants are on the bad boy list for life no matter what the offense. So after having their hand slapped by their own state Supreme Court, Ohio decided to take it out on the out of staters by classifying anyone who comes fro a “life” state as Tier III. that includes states like Florida where the sate allegedly adopted the AWA standards, but only as far as you being able to go before the court after 25 years and beg to be taken off. Maine considers even a Their 1 offender from Florida to be a lifetime registrant. Oh, by the way, because of the date of this guy’s offense, had he been an in-stater, he would have been a 10 year registrant and have been off the list 4 years ago assuming that type of offense would have gotten him on the Ohio registry in the first place!.

Hi Guys and Gals,

I just heard from Ms Aukerman today from Michigan’s ACLU,and i was wondering if some one could put this statement in idiot terms that i can understand. The motion to reconsider has been denied. However, the mandate has been stayed, which basically means that it will be harder to enforce the opinion. The state is going to ask the Supreme Court for review so nothing is likely to happen politically until the Supreme Court decides if it will take the case.

So if i am reading correctly the 6th circuit refused to reconsider it’s ruling,and the ruling still stands,unless The US Supreme Court decides whether they will accept it or not,does any one know how long it takes the Supreme Court to rule on whether they will accept a case or not. what does it mean when it says the mandate has been stayed.?
Thanks for any help anyone might give. Bobby

Thanks Bobby for the update.! Extremely good news Bobby. !
The US 6th District Court of Appeals made a strong decision in defense of our Constitution and finally had the guts and courage to call punishment.. PUNISHMENT.
US Supreme must decide if it stands with the 6th Circuit & the Constitution.

Whew—weee….thanks Bob–beee
Good update today you have & my reply is really the same noted above. Thank you. Tremendous 🙂

Lol, I was just reading an article about the u.s. supreme court, in the article, justice sonya sotamayor said, “this court takes cases that the lower courts are in conflict with, and in cases where justice is being unequally administered”. Oh really, well about the registries and ex post facto and every other law it violates all of the courts and states and people are in conflict with? Oh, it’s selective cases, lol. Get real, they created this costly ridiculous situation by ignoring the law. Now they claim they are about justice. Wow what audacity.

The Michigan Courts found the new registration law punitive, allowing Ex Post Facto to be used as a defense b/c the new registration laws are punishment.

There was a motion to reconsider that ruling that the new registration laws are punishment – implying registration laws are NOT PUNISHMENT. This was denied. Which means the new registration laws are punishment.

Since the state lost that battle, they asked the courts to “hold up” on the implementation. The courts granted this request. But in the letter you received from W.A.R, the ACLU is asking to reconsider the “hold up”, but only for the six people involved in the lawsuit.

This “hold up” will remain until the Supreme Court gets to it – which could be a long, long while. This 2016 Michigan court decision took four years in the making, IIRC (if I recall correctly). Who knows how long the SCOTUS will get to it, but there are a few states that view registration laws are punitive and some states that abide by the 2003 SCOTUS decision, which was built upon false facts.

At that junction, may as well throw in not only Ex Post Facto, but the Bill of Attainder (and hopefully involuntary servitude – especially in states that only give out lifetime registration).

28 U.S. Code § 2101, and SCOTUS Rule 13.1, Michigan has 90-days from the time the rehearing was denied to file their Petition for A Writ Of Certiorari (as the Appeals Court struck down state law and not an Act of Congress).

The Plaintiffs then have 30 days to file Opposing Arguments, however, it is not mandatory.

Within 14 days of the Opposing arguments being filed, or the time elapses, the case will be distributed for the Conference. It will then go through the mythical Conference process, where it will be decided if it Certiorari is granted or denied.

When I appealed Doe V. Shurtleff, it took a little over a month for us to get an answer. We took the nearly the full 90 days to prepare our Petition.

So, an answer on the Stay will not happen until sometime next January, 2017.

Bobby here again guys and Gail’s,

I just received another e-mail tonight from (W.A.R.) Women Against The Registry,and is is what it said as far as what is happening right now. Hope this helps explain more about where Michigan’s ruling is at right now.

From an attorney:
From what I know, simplest answer is–it ain’t over yet, hold tight. And stay compliant.

A 3-judge panel of the 6th Circuit issued a ruling on August 25. The news caused much excitement in Michigan and around the country. Fairly quickly, on Sept. 8, the State of Michigan requested a rehearing by the same panel of judges. The court denied that request on Sept. 15. One week later, Sept. 22, the state asked to stay the mandate and the court granted that request on Sept. 28. Next day, Sept. 29, attorneys (ACLU and Michigan Clinical Law Program) for John Does and Mary Doe, the six individual plaintiffs in the lawsuit, asked the court to reconsider the order staying the mandate. Court hasn’t made a decision yet.

To recap – State of Michigan is not happy with the ruling. They made a request for a rehearing which was denied. Next, the state asked the court to put the decision on hold (“stay the mandate”); the court granted that request. Just two days ago the ACLU and their co-counsel asked the court to reconsider the order which puts the decision on hold. No word from the court yet. Meanwhile, the order putting the decision on hold is in effect. That’s what has happened in the federal appeals court, the 6th Circuit.

The state of Michigan has at least one more option – asking the US Supreme Court to review the case. I don’t know if they have made a formal request for review, they may be waiting for things to get settled by the 6th Circuit, first. US Supreme Court only grants a few requests for review, FWIW.

ACLU and Michigan Clinical Law Program and all the other lawyers have been fighting with all their might on this case. Send them flowers, thank your letters. And support their work with financial contributions.

That’s my two cents. Some of what I’ve laid out may be on the Michigan ACLU website.

Vicki Henry
Women Against Registry, President
Fighting the Destruction of Families
Facebook: Women Against Registry

Follow us on Twitter: @WomenAgainstReg
LinkedIn group Families of Registrants

Thank you, Bobby, for your report on this important decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. I will donate funds for the group’s next effort and hope others will join me.

Okay, I understand (though I don’t understand WHY!) the court agreed to “stay the mandate” regarding their decision. But, Janice, how long does such a “stay” last?? Is it time-limited….or in perpetuity until the court decides to lift it?
I would think that a court would only grant such a stay with the understanding that the losing party (in this case, State of MI) is appealing the decision to a higher court (i.e., SCOTUS) so the decision should be stayed pending confirmation or overturning by the appeal court.

Hello everyone, I just heard from Ms Aukerman about 10 minutes ago,and even though she did not explain anything or say when Michigan is going to ask SCOTUS for a review this is what she said The state is going to ask for Supreme Court review. I know it does not tell us much,or when it might happen,but i hope that The Supreme court refuses to review it. does anyone know if they do refuse to review it,does that mean that it will finally go into law.? or does michigan have more steps they can take in this fight. Thank you for your time,and any answers that might be helpful.

Sex Offender Registration After Does v. Snyder
By Miriam Aukerman and Paul Reingold

Here is another link for Doe v Snyder, it’s nothing new,it just explains a little more in detail . kinda what David m has above with more detail and links to read.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x