Last month, certain components of Michigan’s sex offender registration act [SORA] were invalidated as unconstitutional by a federal judge in Detroit. Since passing the law in 1994, the Michigan legislature has made a series of amendments tightening restrictions on registrants over the past two decades.
The specific portions of the act Judge Robert Cleland struck down are: a) the requirement that sex offenders must stay at least 1000 feet from a school; and b) the requirement that registrants must report all new email and instant messaging addresses to the Michigan State Police. Judge Cleland was troubled by how the lack of clarity in the statutory language affects law enforcement’s ability to guide and enforce the law, and how a registrant of ordinary intelligence cannot determine when to report an electronic address change.
The Michigan chapter of the ACLU and Michigan Law School’s Clinical Law Program were behind the civil law suit filed on behalf of six SORA registrants. In the pleadings filed in the case, the registrants asserted that compliance with SORA was “impossible”.
Some of the plaintiff-registrants are parents and grandparents. They argued that the onerous yet vague restrictions interfere with their ability to participate in their children’s and grandchildren’s education.
If you, a family member or a loved one are facing the registration requirements of SORA, or are seeking to be removed from the registry, contact our law firm for a free consultation to discuss your options.