Michigan Supreme Court Declares Sex Offender Laws Are Punitive

Source: ACSOL

The Michigan Supreme Court today issued a decision declaring that the state’s sex offender law adopted in 2011 cannot retroactively be applied to a registrant convicted two years earlier.  The Court based its decision upon the ex post facto clauses of both the Michigan and the U.S. Constitutions.

“Today’s decision is a significant victory not only for the registrant involved in this case, but also for all Michigan registrants convicted prior to 2011,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci.  “This decision can and should be used as a precedent in every state and federal court.

In its decision, the Michigan Supreme Court found that the “aggregate punitive effects” of the state law “negated the state’s intention to deem it a civil regulation.”  In addition, the Court found that the state law “bore resemblance to the traditional punishments of banishment, shaming and parole because of its limitations on residency and employment, publication of information and encouragement of social ostracism…”   Further, the Court found that the law “appeared retributive” and “appeared excessive.”

At issue in the case were provisions of the 2011 law that created a tiered classification system as well as duties and requirements of each registrant based upon the registrant’s tier classification.  One of those requirements was the publication of personal information on the state’s Megan’s Law website.

“The Michigan Supreme Court is to be commended for speaking the truth today in its decision,” stated Bellucci.  “The court did not accept the government’s stated intention that its registration laws were civil regulations and instead examined closely the effect of those laws leading to the conclusion that the laws punished registrants.”

Download a PDF of the decision:

People v. Betts – Ex Post Facto – July 2021

Related posts

Notify of

We welcome a lively discussion with all view points - keeping in mind...


  1. Your submission will be reviewed by one of our volunteer moderators. Moderating decisions may be subjective.
  2. Please keep the tone of your comment civil and courteous. This is a public forum.
  3. Swear words should be starred out such as f*k and s*t and a**
  4. Please avoid the use of derogatory labels.  Use person-first language.
  5. Please stay on topic - both in terms of the organization in general and this post in particular.
  6. Please refrain from general political statements in (dis)favor of one of the major parties or their representatives.
  7. Please take personal conversations off this forum.
  8. We will not publish any comments advocating for violent or any illegal action.
  9. We cannot connect participants privately - feel free to leave your contact info here. You may want to create a new / free, readily available email address that are not personally identifiable.
  10. Please refrain from copying and pasting repetitive and lengthy amounts of text.
  11. Please do not post in all Caps.
  12. If you wish to link to a serious and relevant media article, legitimate advocacy group or other pertinent web site / document, please provide the full link. No abbreviated / obfuscated links. Posts that include a URL may take considerably longer to be approved.
  13. We suggest to compose lengthy comments in a desktop text editor and copy and paste them into the comment form
  14. We will not publish any posts containing any names not mentioned in the original article.
  15. Please choose a short user name that does not contain links to other web sites or identify real people.  Do not use your real name.
  16. Please do not solicit funds
  17. No discussions about weapons
  18. If you use any abbreviation such as Failure To Register (FTR), Person Forced to Register (PFR) or any others, the first time you use it in a thread, please expand it for new people to better understand.
  19. All commenters are required to provide a real email address where we can contact them.  It will not be displayed on the site.
  20. Please send any input regarding moderation or other website issues via email to moderator [at] all4consolaws [dot] org
  21. We no longer post articles about arrests or accusations, only selected convictions. If your comment contains a link to an arrest or accusation article we will not approve your comment.
  22. If addressing another commenter, please address them by exactly their full display name, do not modify their name. 
ACSOL, including but not limited to its board members and agents, does not provide legal advice on this website.  In addition, ACSOL warns that those who provide comments on this website may or may not be legal professionals on whose advice one can reasonably rely.  

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

If it saves one child l. F that if it saves one vote is what it should say. These mother bangers get to sleep with no issues but we the people get to worry about what’s going to happen. Worthless crap is all they are I hope they have someone close this happens to.

Hey guys. I just sent this email to Tim this evening. I’m sorry if any of you feel I was out of line. However, I merely said what all of us have been thinking all along.

Hello Tim.

I’m writing you because there are a number of us Pre 2011 who are concerned. 

Here’s where we are at right now in our thinking. We feel that whether or not we get off the HIT LIST really isn’t high on the list of priorities for the ACLU. Why do we feel that way? Well because during the hearing last year in front of Judge Cleland, the fact that the 2011 amendment extended our registration times was NEVER ONCE mentioned. It was like that fact just wasn’t important enough to bring up. 

Ms. Auckerman has mentioned MANY times that the ACLU wants the registry eliminated. So we are all well aware that that is where the priorities lie for the ACLU. 

Now you guys are talking Does 3. Where are we on the list of priorities in that suit? Are you guys planning to file it before we’re able to file our own motions using the Betts ruling, to lock us in again so that we are stuck again? 

So basically, we want to know where us Pre 2011 stand with the ACLU. 

One radical idea: Has anyone considered helping buy a house for a registrant in a neighborhood with a legislator we want to sway? In Michigan, there’s literally nothing the legislator could do about it, and they can watch their property value decline. I don’t think any anti-registry groups have the capital to buy a house in an upscale neighborhood outright, but maybe it could be cooperative with a registrant who has the resources to do it. My feeling has been that once residence restriction laws collapsed, there would be incentive to greatly limit the registry because no one wants to be powerless in the face of having a map suddenly indicate their neighborhood is dangerous—I think most people would rather bury their head in the sand once the my realize they can’t threaten or arrest registrants just
for living next door. Anything we can do to accelerate this would be great.

@everyone, I just got a reply back from Tim at the ACLU. I emailed him about this farce, and how it is nothing but a circus and we are the clowns. I also told him that the main issue should have been the exposfacto of the 25 years to life.and this was his reply back to me. Tim’s response

Well first the court never said all pre 2011 people must come off. To have a ex post facto case it was because of the totality of the things they added to the SOR that registrants must do. Now the State thinks that they have removed some of those things like showing tier levels to the public (law enforcement still has them for their use) and all the in person reporting requirements, so now the Judge agreed with the State. We do not agree and will keep fighting. The Betts case is different case and is not part of this case. We must see how the State will deal with it. I am sure we will be back in court at some point, and I know we are going back to federal court. Those people who hire their own attorneys could find they are wasting their money. And they could make it hard on everyone else on the SOR if to many cases do not go the way they think.

I can understand the frustration that every feels. I can understand how disheartening the decision was. But there were many significant victories in both of these cases. Victories that will lead to additional victories. There is now precedent that will lead to other victories not only here in Michigan but everywhere. So don’t think about it as we got nothing out of it. Eventually with enough victories the whole thing will come crashing down. You can see the shift in how the courts are starting to view the registries. But perhaps that’s just my glass half full perspective.

This was Tim’s response to my email. And contrary to what he said, I WAS IN THAT COURTROOM last February. NEVER did they mention the extended registration periods.

The pre 2011 people are a priority for us at the ACLU. In fact if you check you will see that we have referenced this issue several times. I can tell you that if you file your own cases be prepared to spend a good amount of money. Understand that like you we are bound by the Judge’s ruling. Understand that Judge Cleland is pro SOR and very conservative Judge. We were surprised by his ruling in that he did give us some things. So was the State. We do intend to file in Federal Court again. We are also working at the State level. No one knows how the State is going to react to the Betts ruling so it is imperative that you should wait and see if they make changes based on that ruling.

Respectfully Tim P ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. The information in this email is provided for general informational purposes only. No information contained in this email should be construed as legal advice from me or ACLU of Michigan nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this email should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this email without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the State of Michigan, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

UPDATE: Aug. 6, 2021: Michigan’s pre-2021 SORA is DECLARED to be PUNISHMENT.

Heres a link: https://floridaactioncommittee.org/michigans-pre-2021-sora-is-declared-to-be-punishment/

Article includes link to PDF.

Last edited 2 years ago by David⚜️

🤔 Would Michigan – under AG Dana Nessel – appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court? 😏 Hasn’t she already expressed her belief that the Registry is wrong? 🤔

Well Tim in WI seems everyone already knew that it would be punitive. Sure the registry is punitive and over punishing one and yes its embarrassment, unconstutional, and, has reprocusions but I believe you all are missing the point of man’s actions. Sure eveyone can say its computers, someone’s thorn in the flesh.. and yes I’m probably a thorn in the flesh to you, David, Will Allen, and many others but one doesn’t really look at the big picture.

Lets take for instance the Atom Bomb and yes I have family members still cleaning up that site in Oak Ridge. How many didn’t even know what was happening. Sure it distroyed many lives or who eats a peach grown around Oak ridge today?

Sure government has a lot to answer for and believe it or not many went to prison for even protesting Oak ridge. Take a look at this past riot today. So who’s distroying who today with this registry or are things just or unjust today? And yes Janice and many are striving to help in much of this .. invasion of the body snatchers if you want to say that. Myself I couldn’t lay something like this on another person computer or not.

@everyone, did anybody else get or reserve this email from Tim at the ACLU. Just wondering what people think about this email. Doe III

Aug 11 at 10:53 AM
The ACLU of Michigan will be filing a 3rd lawsuit against the State of Michigan called DOE III. Here the statement I received from our legal team: We intend to include a specific claim challenging the extension of registration terms in Does III. We will also be seeking individual consideration, so options for people to petition for removal.

When will this happen? I was not given a date.

How long will this lawsuit take? I have no idea, but we sure do hope it is faster than the Doe V Snyder case has taken.

Will this include everyone on the SOR now: It is my understanding that the main area will be all on the SOR prior to 2011.

How do you become a member of this lawsuit? You will be included in it at some upcoming point if you are a pre 2011 registrant.

How do I petition for removal from the SOR? Until we have a ruling that includes that in the ruling, we suggest you wait until that point in time when a ruling is issued dictating that happen.

Other questions you may have: At this point please do not submit other questions as I do not have the answers. Thank you Tim

Respectfully Tim P ACLU of Michigan SOR Specialist

I’ve been on the sor for 28 years now and I’m not even 40yo yet. I’m so frustrated and disappointed with the aclu, the courts, the state, the lawmakers… I’ve lost jobs, homes, friends, family, vehicles and now all hope… lost count on how many times I’ve been put in jail with no charges for days and weeks on end for ‘civil commitment’. Never seen a judge for any of it, no paperwork, no proof that I was there. Just picked up randomly and then after MANY DAYS just let out but told that they, the jail, will see me again soon like it’s some kind of threat. They’ve taken what ever cash I had on me at the time, broken my phones and other personal things I had on me… even had family make false accusations that I had touched younger family members! This is all become to much to deal with anymore. Constantly looking over my shoulder waiting for the next ‘civil commitment’ or false accusations! Nothing like living with the fear of anything outside!!

Hello, I posted a link to http://www.SpeakAgainstTheCharges.com a few months back but maybe it got deleted for some unknown reason or i just can’t find it.

Michigan routinely ALTERED laws to fabricate probable cause — they committed fraud, fraud on the court and fraud BY the court — then sent actually innocent men to prison with no legal justification.

The judgments are void and so is every action taken by the criminals with oaths / badges / robes / BAR numbers — including FAKE defense attorneys.