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MI: Federal judge to hear latest arguments in case of sex offender registry ruled unconstitutional

UPDATE 2/5: Hearing today to decide whether to remove thousands from Michigan sex offender registry

Also see:

https://www.mlive.com/public-interest/2020/02/constitutional-fight-for-michigan-sex-offender-rights-now-before-federal-judge.html

[michiganradio.org – 2/3/20]

Lawyers will make their case in front of a federal judge on Wednesday over what to do about the state’s sex offender registry.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled nearly four years ago that many of the requirements of Michigan’s registry are unconstitutional. But the law hasn’t been changed, and people continue to be on the list.

“The court has said that this registry is so ineffective, that it is also unconstitutional,” says Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan. “And yet the Legislature has done nothing to fix it.”

In its August 2016 opinion, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals described Michigan’s Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) as “a byzantine code governing in minute detail the lives of the state’s sex offenders.”

“SORA brands registrants as moral lepers solely on the basis of a prior conviction,” the court wrote in its opinion. “It consigns them to years, if not a lifetime, of existence on the margins, not only of society, but often, as the record in this case makes painfully evident, from their own families, with whom, due to school zone restrictions, they may not even live.”

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Is this the same case MI AG Nessel filed documents for stating the registry was unconstitutional?

@agamemnon yes I do believe it is the lawyers have made a brife last week the the state has not moved much and it has been a few years when told to change the law

If, the “so-called” lawmakers have done nothing in 4 years means they are not going do anything. Just rule the whole law unconstitutional and kick the ball up to the SCOTUS, because the RSO are un-american and is unconstitutional, period. There’s no fixing just get rid of it.

Let’s hope it goes good for us on Wednesday. I got my fingers crossed. I know they probably wont have anything big but we can hope

Hold off because of a pending case?! That’s wrong…

this could be the beginning of the end.

Matthew, as the saying goes, “From your lips to God’s ears!” 👍

It is TRO time. This has been dragged on for long enough!!!

The state is not complying. This is contempt pure-and-simple IMO. What remedy does the judge have? Can he impose a several million dollar a day penalty against the state to force compliance? Can he make the fines retroactive (as MI did when they applied retroactively the changes to the registrants?) Can the judge hold the people at the top of the decision food chain in contempt of the ruling by the 6th Circuit? Can the judge order the people who have failed to comply to be jailed for contempt? It seems to me that a combination of huge fines and… Read more »

NY Wont let go,

If you had been sentenced under Michigan’s HYTA, do you believe New York would’ve still made you register, since their version in New York does not require youthful offenders to register?

If not described as plain indenture to property, slavery repackaged the complaint insufficient!
Free men are paid wages to maintain machines.

The link was interesting, especially the comments. Theres people who wrote people on the registry are worse than actual murderers of all things…………

Almost to PH to see if I can get in to see the arguments take place. I’ll keep y’all posted.

@MidnightMike

Please keep us posted! Wanted to make it myself but wasn’t able. Appreciate it!

The hearing is over and I’m on my way home,,,, The first thing I want to say is,,, you all are not very good at showing up or being supportive of this cause. We all need to do better. Only around 25 people showed up and I’d guess that there were less then a handful of Registered citizens present. WE NEED TO DO BETTER That said the hearing went as expected,,, more of the same arguments. I’d say the biggest news is that the state agreed in regard to count 1-3. I’d expect the judge to absolutely side with us… Read more »

@MM….Thanks for attending and reporting back! Are those 1-5 arguments the ones from the plaintiff brief last week? Also, was there any mention of the Nessel briefs as part of our arguments?

Thank you for the update MM! To be honest I never thought that attendance would have any impact.

@MidnightMike, Thank you, for the update, as I have said before I am more concerned and worried about expos facto, and the 2011 amendment being severed is the word I am looking for I guess. Like I have said many times before and like many other’s iwas convicted before the registry before it even existed but still put on it for life. This June will 28 years, unless it’s finally over by then, so I am hoping when Judge Cleland renders, his decision in writing it will include removing ALL pre-sorna 2006 and 2011 registrants. So unless I am reading… Read more »

Could anyone tell me what counts 1 through 5 are as @Midnight Mike referred to? Thanks in advance.

Counts 1-3 are:
1.Vagueness
2. Strict Liability
3. 1st Amendment

Count 4 is Expo Facto

Count 5??

I’m thinking these are it:
(1) Does the law inflict what has been regarded in our history and traditions as
punishment?
(2) Does it impose an affirmative disability or restraint?
(3) Does it promote the traditional aims of punishment?
(4) Does it have a rational connection to a non-punitive purpose?
(5) Is it excessive with respect to this purpose?

@CR

These have all been answered by the 6th, which is binding. The counts per Does motions 62 / 75 on Pacer lay out the 4 (not 5) counts

There is a Mlive.com article detailing what happened today…

Anyone have any idea how long it will take to get a response back from this judge on these matters ?

@TNT if we go based on past Practices with Judge Cleland, we will get a response before the end of business Friday. He is usually very quick with his responses.

In contrast to media expectations, I hope the Honorable Judge does NOT give the legislature additional time to correct the Registry’s problems. Lawmakers have had plenty of time already and have done absolutely nothing. It’s time for the courts to whack them upside the head with a 2×4!!

The first guess was correct. From the brief/motion prior to this hearing. 4 was certification. 5 is sever ability. They did mention the brief from AG Nestle. The brief was for the Betts case. Had nothing to do with this motion or the outcome. Idk how it’s been misconstrued but hopefully this sets the record straight,,,, AG Nestle’s brief=Betts only!!!!! . I was there. I even shook Mrs. Akerman’s hand and thanked her at the end. I left as tv crews from at least four stations were interviewing her as well as a couple registered citizens. Should be something on… Read more »

@midnightMike

Thanks for the further update, but for those of us that are pre-sorna 2006 and 2011, I don’t see how they can stick us back on it after being removed, especially if our convictions were before the registry ever existed, and I was originally only suppose to do 25 years, and it will be 28 years on the damn thing in June. Anyone else have any theories on this one. Thanks again MidnightMike.

While I understand your frustration, that won’t be the case. 1). They brought the Betts case up for a reason today, which is why Judge Cleland said there is too many conflicts with in the AG office., but I’m sure he will give more weight to Dana Nessel, than to her assistant. She said clearly its NOT severable. If you were to agree to go back to the old sora, the ones who got off the registry in 2011 as a result of the amendments would be put back on. There would be lawsuits GALORE. That’s why it has to… Read more »

@Robert:
“… State constitution usually trumps federal…”
—–
This is patently false. The federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Nothing trumps it. Period. Don’t confuse the ability of a state constitution granting greater rights than the federal one as any manner of trumping.

Yup. “Supremacy clause”

“Now, the judge could issue a temporary restraining order or permanent injunction on enforcement on these provisions of the registry.”

And he damn well should! This has dragged on long enough!

“Or he could issue another hold on the case to give the Legislature time to act.”

BULLSHIT! They haven’t acted in 4 f***ing years! It’s injunction time NOW!!!

@MIDNIGHTMIKE. Did you let the other sex offenders who was in the court room with you.Know but this site? Pass the info on bro! But i don’t see the reg living much longer! It a Nazis thing! And we don’t like nazis stuff here. You do your time and pay for the crime!!Let it go!!!! And move on.

It would still be due process I do believe. So if they change it it should go back to what you were sentenced to to begin, subtract all the other things the judge said need to be changed. cuz I think a new ruling would be like trying to repeat what is going on now within the court. And they would have to do it over again. So we will see

It’s still perfectly legal for them to require us to register for life, they just have to be sure the registration isn’t punishment. Sorna as it’s written is not punishment. Courts have ruled and Michigan is gonna want that Fed money. I agree we won’t be on the current registry,,,, but I’d be willing to bet money,,,, no one is getting off free and clear. If we do,,,, I’m sure it will only be temp until they decide how to require retroactive registration,,, that can pass constitutional muster,,,,, That was mentioned and I’m sure a new law is in the… Read more »

@All….I’m really confused. I know registries are recognized as constitutional. That being said, the crux of the argument for the Does I case was the ex post facto aspects of the SORNA implementation that were ultimately ruled to be punitive. As @AJ mentioned earlier the FEDERAL trumps STATE and the 6th CCA ruled ex post facto was in fact punishment. If that is binding and Cleland does the right thing then all the people who had their ex post facto rights violated should be immune from new legislation that would attempt to recapture people for new registry? What @Midnight mike… Read more »

Yes, it definitely sounds like it to me, but we all know the US government is a “do as I say, not as I do” entity. If the root was ex post facto, then youd think anything new that would deal with the same group would be ex post facto. The US justice system and its laws are a joke. These same crooked tactics are the same that was used during Jim Crow days, to keep black Americans in in place. Its surprising many “human rights” groups prefer to look the other way, concerning these reused forms of discrimination.

Ex. Post facto only applies if the law is deemed punitive or punishment. If they lower the bar beneath the “punishment” standard. Even by an inch,,, they can pretty much do whatever they want. And being tough on registered citizens is good for votes,,; and lawmakers live for votes.

@Midnightmike Ex post facto laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 (with respect to federal laws) and Article 1, Section 10 (with respect to state laws)

I get why people are frustrated, so am I. I’ve been on this crap for over 25 years. I was convicted before the registry was law. But to post a bunch of negative stuff that is wrong, doesn’t help.

@midnightmike I completely agree with you. If Michigan enacted the exact replica of S.O.R.N.A. and no further. It will pass constitutional muster, to hold everybody where they stand still..Maybe not life..Maybe a few thousand bucks and a good attorney after 10 years. The A.G. is very correct in her analogy of the effect of the registry to date.. It hinders recovery and holds Thousands of us back. I only prey They do whats right even tho we are all viewed in society, as moral leapers. We Still Deserve A Fair Chance! Life is hard as it is..This is the icing… Read more »

Fight fire with fire!!! Tell people you voting for this guy. Than pop the top to people! That you a sex offender and you want this guy voted in too office see how fast those crooks will deny you. But tell people i am on his side. Soon those politicians will start shutting there mouth. Watch the fear when you ask for votes for some some guy too be in office. When you a sex offender. See where i am going with this!

How to beat any charge of failure to register. Well perhaps not always but it makes for a strong arguement. Why are citizens on the sex offender registry and so easily violated when the department of justice will NOT list Mexican nationals with sex crimes? The reason being Mexican nationals can’t be deported if they are so list, so an illegal gets off the list while a citizen doesn’t.

Any updates?

@P31 The catch is that ex post facto only applies to “Punishment”. What I was getting at is the one thing that matters most (having your photo/info plastered on a website),,,, the courts have already ruled is purely civil regulation and not punishment. I’m in the same boat as you,,, but realistically,,, it’s quite possible that there could be a new law that would apply retroactively that would include my junk being online for the world to see. I didn’t mean to be negative. I hate it! Just truthful. In thinking about it. I sort of wish that someone could… Read more »

Just because the courts have ruled the registry as a civil regulation in the past, doesnt mean they will continue to. We all know that SCOTUS decision was flawed. Yes, it establishes a precedent, but precedent can change. Look at other issues from the criminal, civil, etc worlds such as Slavery, Civil Rights in general, rights of those in criminal proceedings, and so on. This too can change and will change. Public opinion and perception must change and that requires more work on our part as registrants to speak up, show up, and so on.

I found it funny when the State’s attorney tried telling the judge that they were trying to keep expenses low. The judge responded with, “That horse has left the barn.”
Yeah, I’m not sure exactly HOW MANY of us on the list were actually there for the hearing. But I made sure to get a babysitter for my kids, and I made the trip down there.

You did the group proud @Tawasgirl…. I thought you were awesome. I was the guy with the beard. I totally remember you. Guys,,,, tbh that’s a really really really good point. There were more news people there then there were registered citizens,,, like seriously,,, no joke or exaggerating,,, there were maybe 5 RC’s there. WE ARE ALL GOING TO HAVE TO START ACTING LIKE WE CARE,,,,, if anything positive is ever going to be done. Five people,,,, only 5 out of 44,000. SMH. There is obviously room to do better. Next court hearing,,,, I hope to see more faces and… Read more »

@ midnight mike . I commend you and the other registrants that went to the hearing in Port Huron. My question is to all on here that might know. Does the ACLU, Oliver Law group, our attorneys want a lot of to be there? I dont recall them asking for our attendance. Maybe they feel we we would be a distraction or impede the procedure. One of the news articles about the hearing said the aclu asked the registrants that were there not to talk to the media. If we were needed or wanted I’m sure they would get the… Read more »

Not all 44000 SOR know about the court hearings or the ruling i think letters should of been sent out to these people to notify them whats going on with these court procedures and you might have a bigger turn out i found out about it just looking at mi news i had know idea what was going on and its about time these Nazi legislators get put in there place i find it funny that some parts of the registry are not punishment when infact it does when it puts your family endanger from those that want to retaliate… Read more »

why can’t the judge said “I’ve had enough Megan’s law is now shut down. Every one is OFF The list because the state didn’t do anything for 4 years”

Any news from anywhere or rumblings anyone has heard? I realize this is going to take time as sadly no judge or politician wants to be the person responsible for pulling the switch on this, but it seems clealand and nessel seem to be our best shot at getting anything done at all. I’m curious to see how it will affect those of us who are on the non published list with a “minor” designation due to age at the time of prosecution and plea. I’ve been on half my life this year, I’m 34 so hoping some form of… Read more »

When they apply these unconstitutional laws to thousands retroactively years after a crime is a abuse of power at the highest level , this judge should do what is right, He should destroy this registry and force them to rewrite their money trap and give back the LIVES of citizens who in many cases have served their time for their crime , what is crazy is this has gone on this long, when the court knows its WRONG ! Lets hope the judge slams them hard , He should also state in black & white in his order that what… Read more »

Hello Everyone, Well, I received another email from Tim from the ACLU today, and I am not sure what is going on between them and the State, but it all sounds like crap and runaround to me. Maybe I am missing something when it comes to all this legal crap, but for those of us that were placed on it retroactively and those of us that are pre-sorna 2006 and 2011, and/or who were convicted before a registry even existed and placed on it anyway should be removed from it automatically, but according to Tim’s statement that is not the… Read more »

@bobby Sounds like your just pissing him off. I would just like to thank Tim and the aclu for fighting for us. I would just give them time bobby.

It sounds like status quo to me. Essentially he is saying wait and see. If we push the judge then he will probably rule against us. If we are patient then we may get all we want or at least most of what we want. I say take a deep breath. Every day seems an eternity to us on the registry. We don’t know what it will look like yet. Tim is telling you to be patient. I know it’s tough but we MUST navigate this legal mine field cautiously.

@BobbyS…..I think you need to take a step back and let whatever happen take its course. We’re in a far better place collectively then we’ve ever been. By all reports, the judge is not inclined to look favorably on the state’s position. In my opinion, I believe his mind is already made up and is taking his time writing a solid legal opinion. This judge has a lifetime legal appointment so he’s not vulnerable to the pressures of a election. You also have Nessel’s position being used to undercut her own employee’s argument…lastly, the governor & AG are Democrats and… Read more »

@Josh right on.

Will this case effect people after 2011 and 2006 that were put on the list?

I’m sure we can’t write Judge Cleland, but can we write anyone? Will it help anything?

I’m 1000% sure from the last hearing that NO ONE in the gov wants to let a single person off the registry. Even the ACLU would be happy if no one got off,,, as long as the law was made to pass constitutional muster,,,, our ACLU attorney stated so in court..while explaining that she wished the lawmakers had taken action.. The problem is that the legislature has stepped right in it by not taking action,,,, judge Cleland is running out of excuses not to order the injunction and stop the punishment,,,, it’s something that’s supposed to happen quickly when your… Read more »

My fellow brothers and sister affected by this registry business: No one on here understands the struggle, the prejudice, and Ostracizing that we have gone thru with being on the SOR than us. We have been persecuted, forced to move, and live in fear for decades. We are on the brink of something huge happening, and to us, it can’t come fast enough. I totally agree, as I’m living it with you. As passionate as we are with this topic, justifiably so, we need to take a back seat and let the ACLU do their job. I’m not saying that… Read more »

say what you want but for the Attorney say on court records there should be a list and people on it is just chilling!!!

@Tired Old Man…..I don’t disagree with you that it’s chilling or disappointing to hear a attorney say that registries are ok. We all know that they aren’t! But, registries have been deemed constitutional and are here to stay. Not only that but more & more registries are going to be implemented. Child abuse, animal abuse, DUI, arson, etc…I think that the Aclu lawyer wasn’t trying to sabotage us or anything but changes need to be made for people who may have to remain on the SOR…peoples’ personal information, vehicles, email addresses and whatever else don’t need to be broadcast to… Read more »

@Josh I do agree that there are going to be more registeries for other crimes. A America is truly lost because of the politicians in this country. The constitution these days is being walked on.

Josh,
All because of a machine’s potential to be a savior for the “most vulnerable” from the most heinous. Oops, it didn’t help much.

By securing unfettered (gov &personal) use via the indenture of human to database machine maintenance & use, an advantage of collateralized uses flowered.

Now children are indeed indentured plus those youngsters who are not yet included are compelled to purchase identity theft protection to secure personal data and futures.

Brothers and sisters , it’s going to be alright . No matter what happens , it will work in our favor. I know it’s been a long battle for some of us ( 20 years for me ) but we have survived and pushed through to be the best we can in this unforgiving society. I don’t care what the law is trying to do to us, GOD is in control and we are about to see a miracle. Have faith in God not man , and believe. So a man thinketh , so is he. I BELIEVE!!!!!!

Well if its all the same to you, I would rather not depend on the supernatural to fix this registry problem. If a benevolent supernatural being had anything to do with it, we wouldn’t have a damn registry to begin with. No thanks, I’ll put my Faith in the ACLU, and the talented attorneys on our side to handle this!

Belief will help. Patience (beyond infinity) will also help. Politicians and law makers pick when to be quickly slow or slowly quick. It is a given that more short-term harm is done before the greater long-term releif comes.

Keep yourself together as best you can and get help from friends and family. Earn that “low/no recidivism” badge. Help other registrants. And have a slice of cheesecake once in a while 🙂

Be grateful. Keep the peace.

I know we are not allowed to say we are victims. But I just lost working as a sub contractor for a company that knew of my case in the very beginning. Before I started to do any work for them they had called my parole officer. My PO gave me a very good endorsement so they accepted me to sub work for them. Through out the years I have been been one of there best techs. But they always found ways to take more and more money from my jots knowing I wouldn’t quit. I am a highly skilled… Read more »

Well, bud, I feel your pain. The registry is punishment that is not place no other class of people and not for the crime involved but for the labeling as sex offender for many instances that do not involve sex, like taking a pee. Now, that being said, we have to become louder until more people start taking notice and they are.

@Ghost: Who the hell said “…we are not allowed to say we are victims.”? Many, many, many of the people who commit sex crimes were victims themselves. Not only that, you are a victim of societies asinine ability to even understand basic sex terms, much less understand their kids are more likely to commit a sex crime than be a victim of one. And yes, those sex crimes consists of 30% of the sex crimes committed. You are a victim, I am too, so are almost 1 million directly and many times over indirectly. Do you have a state HVAC… Read more »

R M I had license in GA. years ago before moving up to MI. But MI wouldn’t recognize Ga license. I went to trade school in the mid 80’s. Been doing this my whole life. Did commercial and industrial in Atlanta GA. But now I cant even keep a job doing residential & applliance repair without being taken advantage of. You know I don’t remember how it use to Feel like before all of this anymore. Kind of numb to what life was. It’s hard trying to go out looking for work. I always get called in for a interview,… Read more »

@Ghost: You say you had a HVAC license in Ga, could you still? If so, could/would you move back to Ga?

thoughts anyone??

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