A federal judge has granted a motion for litigation about the state’s sex offense act to enter final judgment.
Parts of Michigan’s Sex Offense Registration Act (SORA) were ruled unconstitutional by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland on Feb. 14, 2020. The litigation has been ongoing for nine years.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the court delayed the final judgment in April 2020.
The court held a retroactive punishment of the 2011 amendments to SORA can not be served. Several other SORA provisions were found unconstitutional for people who were convicted before the 2011 amendment was enacted.
The Michigan Legislature passed Public Act 295 on Dec. 31, 2020, also known as “new SORA,” which addresses constitutional issues the court found in the registry. This act went into effect on March 24.
The court determined possible future prosecution for violations of the old SORA statute requires the entry of a final judgment, even though the judgment will not affect the enforcement of the new SORA statute enacted in March 2021.
The court concluded that the new version of SORA applies only to registrants’ conduct on or after March 24.
While plaintiffs of the litigation argue new SORA also has unconstitutional provisions and makes the law more unclear, challenges to the new version will need to be addressed in a separate lawsuit.
Plaintiffs must submit a joint, proposed form of judgment by July 12.