ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman will discuss her many successes challenging sex offender laws in Michigan at the ACSOL conference on Friday, September 17, at 12:30 p.m. (Pacific). After her presentation, attorney Aukerman will be available for questions from conference attendees.
“Attorney Aukerman has done what many other attorneys have been unable to do,” stated ACSOL Executive Director Janice Bellucci. “That is, she has persuaded courts that the requirement to register is punishment and therefore new sex offender laws cannot be applied retroactively.”
Litigation in one case, Does v. Snyder, began about 10 years ago when several registrants challenged new sex offender laws in Michigan that were applied to them retroactively, The new laws including a prohibition that registrants could not live, work or loiter within 1,000 feet of a school and divided registrants into three tiers based upon the crime of conviction, not current dangerousness.
In a strongly worded decision, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Michigan’s sex offender laws impose punishment and therefore new registration laws could not be applied retroactively. Statements in the decision include “SORA brands registrants as moral lepers solely on the basis of a prior conviction” and “SORA’s requirements also resemble traditional shaming punishments.” The Court also noted that, due to the new registration laws, registrants “have had trouble finding a home in which they can legally live or a job where they can legally work.” Further, the Court noted that the school zone restrictions have prevented registrants from watching their children or grandchildren “participate in school plays or on school sports teams” as well as “visiting public playgrounds.”
The defendants in the case, including the Governor, did not like the court’s ruling and therefore requested review of that decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the U.S. Supreme Court denied that review.
“Michigan has been a battleground for registrants’ rights for a decade,” stated Bellucci. “After this case was decided, the legislature made feeble attempts to revise the state’s sex offender laws. Attorney Aukerman will explain during the conference the current state of Michigan’s sex offender laws.”
Although she was not an attorney in the recent case, People v. Betts, Aukerman will explain its significance to registrants currently residing in Michigan. In that case, the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled that some sex offender laws constitute punishment and therefore cannot be applied retroactively. Similar to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, this court acknowledged the U.S. Supreme Court decision, Smith v. Doe, which ruled that sex offender laws in Alaska did not constitute punishment and then explained that sex offender laws in Michigan were harsher for several reasons including the fact that registrants must register in person.
People v. Betts – Ex Post Facto – July 2021
Does v. Snyder – 6th Circuit – Aug 2016
We are very lucky to have Miriam join the ACSOL conference this year! She is a true hero and has lots of information to share with the registrant community both inside and outside the state of Michigan.
Agree with Bobby , Not a lot has come out of the Michigan rulings for those of us who were retroactively punished for the last 28 years. We have heard a whole lot of patting on the backs is about it. Nothing has changed for the ones who have been living this hell these politicians have loaded on our backs with no reason or rhymes. Just wish they would fight for getting people removed who the courts have said were punished after a conviction. Punitive means , they violated our constitutional rights.
Free Us Already !
Miriam litigates on a broad range of civil liberties issues, with a particular focus on immigrant rights, poverty, and criminal justice. In Hamama v. Adducci, she headed a team that sued Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), after ICE arrested hundreds of Iraqi nationals, who faced deportation to Iraq, where they were likely to be tortured or killed because of their religion or ethnicity. A federal judge not only stopped the mass deportations, but ordered ICE to release hundreds of Iraqis from detention. In Does v. Snyder, Miriam won a precedent-setting Court of Appeals’ decision which found Michigan’s sex offender registry unconstitutionally punitive. Other cases include Barry v. Lyon, which resulted in the return of $52 million in wrongfully withheld food assistance to low-income families; Speet v. Schuette, which struck down Michigan’s anti-begging law; One Michigan v. Johnson, which led the Michigan to issue driver’s licenses to immigrant youth who have lawful status under the DACA program (“Dreamers”); and Arab American Civil Rights League v. Trump, which challenges President Trump’s Muslim Ban. Miriam also promotes constitutional rights through media appearances, public education, legislative advocacy and training. https://mcdvoice.me/
I got a letter in the mail one day from a guy who was a registered sex offender at first I thought it was a letter from one of those law offices trying profit off my desperation and misery but as I kept reading it I realized it was from an actual registrant, the letter was straight forward it was calling for all sex offenders in California to stop hiding in the shadows and stand up fight and let your voices be heard.
At the time I never talked to another person on the registry before and it sounded like he was part of some kind of organization of people forced to register.
So I called the number on the letter he said he was a REGISTERED CITIZEN from Lake Forest and was charged with CP and he was trying to from an organization of registrants he also said he stood with Janice Bellucci and spoke out against the registry to politicians in Sacramento.
At the time I never heard the words REGISTERED CITIZENS when referring to sex offenders and I never heard the acronym CP and I never herd of Janice Bellucci
Right before I hung up he said you ever heard of a website called ACSOL they have alot of information on there about REGISTERED CITIZENS you should check it out.
We seem to win minor victories, any of which can be reversed. We really need a major victory, one which will give us all hope. Removal from the registry in Michigan tier 1 or pre 2011 conviction is needed. Something like this victory would give us all true inspiration to get involved on a national level to effect change. Let’s advise our Michigan governor that she is under scrutiny. We can remove her from office. I will stand in Lansing if it will help. I will be removed from the registry shortly however I will not abandoned the cause.
Maybe she will talk too the people in Michigan before she heads to Cali , A lot of us would like too hear what is going on in Our state .