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National

MI: ACLU lawsuits look to reform Michigan Sex Offender Registry

[wsbt.com – 3/15/19]

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A federal court ruled three years ago that parts of Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry laws were unconstitutional, but since then, nothing in the law has changed.

The ACLU is looking to reform, or even do away with the registry as part of an ongoing lawsuit.

“The law that we have now is broken, it’s bloated, its ineffective and it actually makes us less safe,” said Miriam Aukerman, an attorney with the ACLU of Michigan.

Aukerman said the state’s sex offender registry law is unconstitutional and ineffective, which was why the organization had ongoing lawsuits in both state and federal court.

“When someone has served their time and done their punishment, we say ‘go out and start your life over again,’” Aukerman said.

Michigan has one of the largest sex offender registries of any state, with 44,000 people.

The registry is easy to access, and searchable by location or name on the Michigan State Police website.

A search of the database shows 783 registered sex offenders in Kalamazoo, including 18 living within a half mile of Newschannel 3.

“I think people need to know where things are, where people are in their neighborhood,” said Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney David Gilbert.

He said easy access to the database helps keep people safe.

In 2006 and 2011 the Michigan legislature toughened sex offender laws, requiring lifetime registration for certain offenses. Those registration requirements were implemented retroactively.

The toughened registration requirements meant people whose crimes occurred before the registry even existed had to register and were governed by strict standards.

A federal appeals court ruled the retroactive registration unconstitutional in 2016. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal a year later.

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Michigan ACLU Training Session (Michigan Citizens for Justice)

 

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  1. Bobby

    @Everyone,

    Here is another small article originally posted on Women Against the Registry (WAR) about an hour ago if anyone wants to read it, it’s the same as other Michigan articles but also different as well.

    https://wsbt.com/news/regional/aclu-lawsuits-look-to-reform-michigan-sex-offender-registry?fbclid=IwAR3xnNtENX9cCICGe-zLYCTowXBG7Ev6u9gbC5oM-C1IZTnwn_YS1_YKx2U

  2. David

    “I think people need to know where things are, where people are in their neighborhood,” said Calhoun County Prosecuting Attorney David Gilbert. ……. “It’s not there for the person that was convicted, it’s there for people in the community so they can check their community and see if someone who they may consider a danger is in their neighborhood,” he said.

    I’m not sure if I am “Thing One” or “Thing Two”, but I do know that Gilbert and his ilk are lazy liars. All of these prosecutors, LEOs and legislators are lying when they roll out the overused tropes of “public safety” & “people have a right to know”.
    They are proven to be lazy liars by the truth that if they were genuinely concerned about who may be dangerous and the people’s right to know, they would push for a drunk drivers registry, a domestic abusers registry, a meth cookers’ registry, and a registry of all the local racist fanatics who have stockpiled guns and ammunition! Aren’t the registry proponents always saying that people have a right to know who in their neighborhoods is dangerous???
    I thought that was the entire argument for the registry. Or could it be that the true purpose is exactly what WE say it is: the registry is meant to shame and endlessly punish people who have already served their time.

    • Dustin

      @ David:

      Regardless of the registry’s original intents (all predicated on falsehoods), it’s all about money now. LE wants them for the grants they receive from federal and state government, not their supposed use as a law enforcement tool or investigation aide (it does absolutely nothing for either). Legislators want it so they can pander and/or cover up their own misdeeds. Criminal court judges just like to hang people as much as they can. DAs love sex crime in general – free felony convictions – and the registry is merely a part of that. The Wendy Murphys and Nancy Graces of the world want them just so they can run their mouths about their supposed expertise and maybe sell a few books or videos.

      But look at who has lost interest in the registry over the years – the general public, for the most part. Sure, there a few registry nazis around that will never be placated and now and then there will be an incident in a given neighborhood that’ll get everyone in a twist, by they generally die down and people just go back to willful ignorance and generally not caring until the next time someone specifically asks them about it. Most people, if they think about it honestly, would realize that their neighborhoods would not suddenly become more dangerous if the registry were abolished tomorrow. Betting they’re just afraid to say so publicly.

      • Anonymous

        @Dustin. My P.O. said that I had to inform a client of mine that I am a sex offender. The woman, in her late 60’s, had no idea what I was talking about. She thought I was hitting on her LOL. I’m serious. I had to explain what I meant. It was a little uncomfortable but I’m used to it. No problem. This woman and I have become very good friends!! She even said that throughout her life she has probably encountered a hundred people men & women alike that could be considered sex offenders.

        • Joe123

          Your PO is a dumbass who overstepped his duties. Unless there is a LAW or clearly written in the terms of your probation, you DON’T OWE anyone a gut-spilling session about your personal life. If a person has had a chance to know you then this sex offender bullshit won’t matter to them, but most importantly it shouldn’t matter to the PO who needs to minds his business which is what was written in the judge’s orders Only.

        • Will Allen

          If you are $EX offender then you need to be in prison. Does your P.O. not know you are?

        • Anonymous

          31 “special conditions” of probation for sex offenders. “Must inform employers of your history of sexual offending.” Do you want to know the other 30? Sickening.

        • Will Allen

          Anonymous (March 18, 2019):

          Okay, so your P.O. did not overstep his/her duties.

          Personally, I don’t have a problem with requiring a person who is on probation or parole to tell any potential employer that. I only have a problem with it if it is only required for $EX crimes and not all others. If that is the case, then it makes no sense and is truly nothing but idiotic harassment. I expect the same could be said for all 31 “special conditions”. I expect that most likely make sense for all probationers/parolees, or they don’t make sense.

          Maybe you already know but very few people who post on this forum are “$EX offenders”. You said, “I am a sex offender”. How long do you intend to be? Do you know? I would like to hear.

    • Randall

      So what this comment tells me is that my buddy who has a few AKs, a couple ARs… And varoius guns is dangerous to the public? Naw I disagree… The gun owners are who I want on my side…

  3. kat

    Perhaps I’d like to know if the guy next door is a wife-beater or the woman across the street is a thief.
    If we’re going to have a registry, then by God let’s not discriminate between crimes, let’s have one for one and all!

    • Anonymous

      @Will Allen – No I am no longer a sex offender. Probation and 250 “treatment” sessions are just kicking me down. Only 5 years of proba and forced weekly “treatment” to go. How many does that add up to? Another 250? And THAT is only for those convicted of sex crimes. No other criminal probationers. Oh, and the female “sex offenders” don’t get that much “treatment.” Not by a long shot.

      • Will Allen

        Perfect.

        People who do bad things to other people deserve to be punished. But fairly and proportionately. “Therapy” is none of that. It’s theft and nothing else.

        I’m glad to hear that you aren’t a “$EX offender”. If anyone tells you that you are, tell them how far to shove it up their ass. It’s very enjoyable.

  4. norman

    ACLU seems to have some balls in Michigan..why not California?

    Janice needs all the help that she can get to fight all this nonsense..

    Think I will call the ACLU and ask them..

    • Harry

      I have written to ACLU on RC issues, they either never reply or they do not expect any success. The ACLU maybe changing, however, historically they have not been supportive of RC.

    • Josh

      @Bobby@Bill and any other RC with 25+ years on Michigan’s registry:
      I had a lengthy conversation with my attorney late last week about lot of the ongoing injunctions, litigation, and negotiations taking place currently. I was given some information explaining why the Aclu won’t or hasn’t forced the state’s hand in court. Apparently, there are maybe fewer then 100 people on Michigan’s registry who would be removed for completing the initial 25 years like myself and the people mentioned above….I was also informed that a court decision in our favor would only give people their opportunity to get off the registry after 25 years if it reverts back to pre 06 & 11 sora plus having all the personal info taken off of registry pages. Those of us who are already eligible are considered for a lack of better term the “first class” of people to be eligible under Does I. Every year from here on out will have a group with larger numbers eligible for relief. This is why the Aclu is attempting to change as much as possible in terms of who and how long people are required to register. By getting shorter registry periods, say 5,10, or even 15 years they feel they can get relief for more people as has been stated by the Aclu. So the long & short of it is that there simply aren’t enough of us for them to just go to court for….I was also informed that legislative reprisal is a VERY REAL fear. We’ve seen what’s happened in Pennsylvania after the Muniz ruling…some people got relief but their legislature just went back and jammed up a lot more. I’ve been critical at times of the Aclu and how they’ve handled things. I’ve come to inderstand that they are trying to affect REAL change for more than just a few…Selfishly, I want my relief and I want it yesterday….after hearing all this, it doesn’t make it any easier to accept that we are being overlooked or lost in the process a bit….but we should be grateful that our Aclu here in Michigan is involved and has defended and won for us….just food for thought

      • Harry

        ACLU, “fewer than 100 would be receive relief”, that is bunk. With most other groups aclu will go to bat for one and many are not really civil right issues. They chase likely winning cases for the dollar. Imo, ACLU should of been active when RSO got started, but no they did nothing and sat on the sidelines and the most part they are still there.

      • bill

        Hopeful but not holding my breath, I say a lot more then a 100, maybe 2000? thanks for the post all!

        • Josh

          @Bill
          I thought that number was really low as well and maybe it is but even your number of 2,000 is still a very low percentage out of almost 45,000……when you figure that over 25 years has passed and with people dying or possibly re-offending in someway…That would shrink the amount down pretty significantly…either way, I just thought I’d pass along what I thought was a plausible explanation for why we’re not off the registry 18 months after the fact…

      • C

        Ask your lawyer who were the 3000+ people who were already removed from the registry since the sept 2018 Detroit free press article about the Does 1 case. I have been on the registry since 93 and did 17 half yrs in prison at the age of 17. Im 43 now and been off parole 7 yrs and out 9. I think if i hired a lawyer to get me removed i would b sucessful however im not hiring an expensive lawyer to get me removed when i shouldnt have to spend money to get me removed Hopefully some relief will come at some point. I believe until the media stops with the scare tactics painting every sex offender as a pedophile then the hysteria will continue. You see how long it took for marijuana to become legal after being the GATEWAY drug to every major drug known to man. Lol. The media and so called experts had everyone convinced that if u smoked marijuana, you would be smoking crack within the next 30 days. Lol.

        • Josh

          @C
          Really? 3,000 people have filed to get off the registry in federal court and been successful? They aren’t getting anywhere in state district court because many of those courts are waiting to see what happens with Does II. The original six Does are still on the private non-public registry and that wasn’t a quick process even for them. I know SOME people have filed and gotten relief in federal court since that article you mentioned but I think your number is way high…I also think 3,000 sex offenders getting off the registry would have drawn some attention from the media….as usual if I’m wrong please feel free to correct anything I’ve said….

        • C

          Josh, Yes read the Detroit free press article dated june 7 2018 and it states there are currently 43,623 people currently on the michigan registry. However if u go on the registry itself there are 40,112 thats actually 3500 who have been removed or whatever but theres 3500 missing since june 7. Another thing i found kind of interesting while doing a little research that ohio has 1.7 mil more people but has just over 17,000 sex offenders. Mich has 40,000.

        • BM

          @C

          Doesn’t really surprise me that Ohio has way less. There are many states that have far less than MI does. It’s crazy really. Hopefully the discussions and ACLU are really going to “water down” the registry like @AnonMom stated below. This has been the fight with the ACLU all along and even again in front of the MSC they kept pounding the rational relation to keeping someone on even for 25 years… When data shows recidivism to be the same as the general public at 17 years even for the worst of the worst. I’m hoping that the political game and fear in MI will find shelter in the Doe cases and use those as the reasons they MUST make change. Even the AG laid it out for them to hide behind. Not because they want to, but they’re forced. I don’t really care if they save face and hide behind that as their reasoning, as long as they make real change.

        • RegistrantNotAnOffender

          The online registry size can be misleading there some states that don’t post level one offenders so the registry will obviously look a lot smaller

  5. Q

    Norman.
    Wisconsin ACLU refused me completely in 98 when I asked the Milwaukee office for some advice concerning substantive due process claims. I’d not acquiesced in 92 by plea &; had trial unlike DPS folks. They just blew me off and sent fundraising material. I’d 10K cash but he wouldn’t even consider my case. Janice is one in A million. Problem is she can’t fight the federal surveillance saints who are funded by billionaires bent on
    maintaining political c!out.
    UNFETTERED uses of the electronic databases too useful to give up. See MI. The very second a state Congress limits gov ” use” it also limits the fed by default. That is why they’re stuck! Unpopularity is a separate issue.

  6. AnonMom

    Just read some notes from a local area meeting for local politicians, one of mine being Melissa Melendrez, the only things she talked about were “big gulps being banned, and the sex offender registry is being watered down.” And of course the idiot that posted the notes put a scared emoji face. I see all the comments here and feel some hope, then I am reminded by the extra stupidity that lives around me, and that have the ability to vote, and hope fades quickly!

    • BM

      @AnonMom

      Can you share a link or anything where you read these notes? I’m interested to see what they said more specifically about it! I’m optimistic that all of these politicians will use the cover of the courts to blame the changes on. In reality, they don’t have a choice anyway… But making real change that makes sense, under threat of lawsuits and blaming the courts is an “out” for them. Don’t think they’re not playing that card either.

  7. Jeff

    I was incarcerated from 1987 until 1997. I have been on the registry for many years and can honestly say that the impact for me has been minimal compared to some. I know at least 15 others that have been on the registry for the same amount of time, or close to it. So the “100” number is bunk. And if you could put me in touch with one or two of the 3,000 that have been taken off, that would be great. Lol. Because there is nothing I would rather do than get off of this ” Government Go Fund Me” list…

    • C

      This fight is similar to the war on drugs, war on terrorism, war on gangs, war on prostitution. Its always something with the govt. They have to waste money on something and mich is at the top of the heep. Jeff u probably remember the OHare law in early 90s where they constructed a law saying if u committed a crime while still on parole u had to finish max on 1st sentence before starting 2nd? That didnt last long There were people in level 4 prisons for stealing cigarettes from gas stations Everything is cyclical in this world and the war on sex offenders will end at some point. When? Who knows but the govt cant sustain and afford to keep chasing their tail. The one thing that pisses me off the most tho is i been out almost 9 yrs and the state just started garnishing my wages cuz apparently i have to pay $9,500 to get out of prison. I also got to wear one of their fancy ankle bracelets too. I went to kay jewelers and asked them if they had another one for my other ankle and their jaw dropped. 😂

      • Jeff

        C, I do remember O Hare. Sometimes things take a little too long to change. I have been out for over twenty years and have personally séen the changes to the registry. None of it for the good of us, or for the public. Just something for them to exact some type of vengeance for any problems in their own lives. Things will change for the better. Stay strong..

        • Dreamin’

          Since the inception of The registry, it has been a tool for politicians to provide proof of their advocacy for minors and sexually abused. This is not going to end.
          Yea, maybe a minor easing in the form of residency restrictions, but even that has a built in trap to snare offenders who might not register on time. Law enforcement knows where to look for them. As long as those are considered victories, then the political bread crums will continue to be tossed to us.
          Accept this, We have no foot to stand on, the supreme court says as much in defining the registry as non punitive.
          You accept that laws will continue to isolate us and you go about what life you are allowed. Either that or end your life. Its really not that compicated.

        • Roger

          @Dreamin, my opinion is that your gloom and doom Keyboard Warrior viewpoint results from an ignorance of the history of civil rights, a lack of actually showing up and standing up and speaking up, and a refusal to see the progress we have made. In California, ACSOL has been very effective in neutralizing presence restrictions and almost all residency restrictions. We have successfully lobbied to kill or modify many bad bills. We are engaged in multiple battles at multiple levels. We look at the long term fight. But we know social attitudes can take along time to change (it took decades to build the hysteria against registrants). If African Americans had your attitude, they would have given up and there would have been no Bill of Civil Rights.

          Show up, Stand up, and Speak up, or nothing will change!

        • C

          Jeff. Yes i agree some things do take too much time to change. In the meantime, the whole state suffers because the resources the state wastes to chase us around could b used to for something better. I remember i got pulled over and taken to jail while on parole because i didnt go outside and clear my gps bracelet. While i was sitting in the cop car a call came over the radio of shots fired on a street 6 blocks from where we were sitting the car that i was in was out of the question for a response. All for what? Me not clearing my bracelet they knew exactly where i was at cuz after all it was a gps bracelet. Just craziness.

        • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

          Dreamin’ and Roger: When someone here adopts the posture of defeatism and pretends to speak with the voice of omniscience, I’m left to wonder what it is that distinguishes their goals from the goals of our enemies. If their speech appears to be similar and to argue for surrender, e.g. “You’re a fool to fight this system,” then I must conclude that their goal is also the same. Whether or not they are an actual stalking horse for the enemy hardly matters since their goal is the same.

        • Thinkin' About Dreamin'

          I’m thinkin’ you’re sabotagin’.

        • @dreamin

          Such a troll post. Suggesting we just lay back and take the abuse. Utter nonsense. Organizations have slowed and seen numerous laws repealed by fighting back. But you are free to heed to massa

  8. Steveo

    I ceased being a sex offender when I ceased to commit sexual offenses. I was able to turn away from that, and stop. I went to court and took a plea deal for a sexual offense where a judgement and conviction was deferred based on the completion of 10 years probation without offending again. The government changed the deal on me after the fact, and although I completed the terms of the original deal, I have been forced to register each year, and was told that i will have to, under threat of jail for the rest of my life. My name, address, and photo have been put online, and my reputation has been continually slandered with the claim that I AM currently a sex offender, as if I am perpetually committing the crime that I already paid for. So far the highest court in the land has upheld this injustice against me. The government deceived me, lied to me, has continually slandered me, and unjustly punished me for many years, and is continuing to slander and punish me to this day.

    • Will Allen

      Exactly. Only criminal regimes act like that. Make them and everyone who supports them pay dearly. Let’s move those scumbags to a P.O.S. country where they will fit in better. Time to make America actually free.

  9. Bill

    This is the boogie man law

  10. Bobby

    Hello Guy’s and Gal’s

    Well, I finally received a response from the email I sent the other day concerning Does 2 and if there was any word on the injunction that was files after the March 6th Oral Arguments concerning Betts and Snyder

    I heard back from Tim P. and as always, most questions were ducked and not fully answered just more of the same, we are doing it this way or we are doing it that way responses, so anyway this is what I got back from Tim P. ACLU.

    We are working on it and hopefully we will have something before the end of this year.  We understand your frustration, but understand we are working in the best interest of all parties.  If we were to settle just the pre-sorna part of the law we would have no standing to get relief for those post sorna, and the only way to do that would be to go back and start the process all over. Hopefully you can continue to be patient and will be happy with the outcome.  I also hope you understand that we get many many emails and your best bet to find out when changes are made will be the news media and letters you will get from the Michigan State Police.  Your continued emails and any phone calls, do not speed the process up at all.   

    Respectfully Tim P ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist

    There was nothing about the injunction I asked about, nothing about US 42 1983 that I asked about when it comes to suing the State of Michigan or the State Police when it cones to the 6th Circuits ruling.

    I would appreciate anyone’s thought’s on the matter sorry I didn’t have anything good to report.

    • bill

      Thanks Bobby , more waiting ! seems like the ACLU could do a lot better job on updates on what is going with the court cases, time frame, the injunctions and not just we’re working it, so tired of all the boogieman law!

      • Josh

        @Bobby@Bill
        The soonest we might hear something is end of April. The “injunction” was simply going back to Cleland and reactivating the lawsuit. The state has until the end of April to respond and the Aclu has until the middle of May to respond back or so I was told…..so yes, more waiting….I have questions too about the 1983 thing mentioned in the Betts/Snyder hearings. I’d be interested in suing the living hell out of anybody who keeps us on this thing one more day than was required…..

        • bill

          thanks Josh, I am with you all the way and think it needs done anyway, that was helpful info for me, I didn’t know that! Thanks, hopefully the ACLU would have there response ready the next day.

        • Bobby

          @Josh, Thanks for the update and the explanation about the injunction. Just hoping this crap will be over soon or by the end of the year.

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