June 7, 2018
"Treatment of sex offenders depends on whether they've challenged rules"
The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy new Detroit Free Press article. I recommend the piece in full, and here is how it gets started and additional excerpts:
Eight months after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively upheld a decision saying parts of Michigan's sex offender registry law — one of the toughest in the nation — were unconstitutional, thousands of former sex offenders who thought they'd be off the registry by now, or facing less severe restrictions, have seen no changes.
The law remains in place, unchanged, with the state defending it in more than three dozen lawsuits — many of which it has already lost. The controversy involves a ruling two years ago by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati that said provisions enacted in 2006 and 2011 and applied to offenders convicted before then violates constitutional protections against increasing punishments after-the-fact. Last October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the state's challenge to that ruling, effectively upholding it.
The rules prohibit offenders — many of whom have gone years if not decades without committing any crimes — from legally living, working or even standing within 1,000 feet of a school, a regulation that many say makes it hard for them to work, or to pick up or see their kids at school, and has forced some to give up jobs and homes. The rules also require offenders to immediately register email addresses or vehicles and report to police as often as four times a year, in some cases, for the rest of their lives.
Because the appeals court decision came in civil cases and not class action lawsuits, the state has maintained those rulings apply only to the specific plaintiffs who brought them. And with the state Legislature failing to change the law, registrants find themselves in a legal morass, with the requirements they must comply with almost wholly contingent on whether the offender has successfully gone to court. Michigan now has the fourth-largest sex offender registry in the country, with 43,623 registrants on its database, more than the state of New York, which has 40,623.
The disparities can be wide. One man convicted 17 years ago of eight counts of sexual contact with several girls under the age of 13 sued prosecutors, arguing that the rules keeping him on the registry — with his photo, name, address listed publicly — for life were unconstitutional. Last November, after the Supreme Court declined to take up the 6th Circuit decision, the state Court of Appeals agreed, saying those rules no longer apply to him.
But it's different for another man convicted of touching two girls under the age of 16 while drunk 24 years ago in another state but who has had a clean record since. Last September, as a "Tier 2" offender, he was expecting to come off the registry after nearly a quarter century. But he was abruptly told by police that his case had been reviewed and that since one of those girls was under 13, he’d stay on the list — and be listed among the worst offenders on "Tier 3" — for life. To this day, under Michigan law, he's subject to all those restrictions from which the first man has been freed....
In Michigan, any legal certainty about what is required of thousands of sex offenders is almost nil.
While some local prosecutors — like those in Wayne and Oakland counties — no longer enforce cases involving retroactive applications of the law, it's far from certain that others are following suit. Macomb County prosecutors, for instance, declined to answer the Free Press' questions about whether they are still enforcing those restrictions. And Michigan State Police — which oversees the registry — says, legally, all restrictions remain in place.
The state’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Bill Schuette — who is running for governor — won’t say whether the 6th Circuit Court decision should be applied statewide, his office refusing comment.
Prior related post:
- Sixth Circuit panel concludes Michigan sex offender registration amendments "imposes punishment" and thus are ex post unconstitutional for retroactive application
June 7, 2018 at 09:57 PM | Permalink
Ex-sex offenders in Michigan need to organize themselves into a radical political self-defense movement similar to the Occupy Wall Street movement.
For those who live in groups should think about what the Black Panthers did ca. fifty years ago: forming a political block; teaching self-defense courses; etc. Maybe if these ex-sex offenders make Michigan's law unenforceable to the point of putting police and prosecutors' lives to needless risk, then the state's political establishment will get the message.
When anti-draft groups during Vietnam forced the government to use draconian measures against war protesters, the government had to drop prosecutions of more common crime offenses just to devote their resources at huge tax payer expense to target the anti-war and anti-draft activists. If former sex offenders did the same, they could effectively tie down law enforcement enough to force law enforcement and politicians to re-think their sex offender laws.
Posted by: william r. delzell | Jun 8, 2018 9:22:14 AM
More attorneys need to take on sex offender case Pro Bono. This abuse of constitutional and human rights is not going to get any better until it's fought in court, and sex offenders don't have money because the politician's have helped make them unemployable.
These same type laws will come back to bite you in the butt if not stopped now.
Posted by: Book38 | Jun 8, 2018 8:35:09 PM
Sounds like a good plan. Nothing else will stop these demons that are destroying society with their totalitarian ways. These aren't politicians. They aren't citizens. They are devils. Period. Only organized resistance will bring them to heel.
Maybe one day the judiciary will wake up and realize that any crime that is cruelly and unusually punished is against the core principles of the United States. A Revolution was fought against the crazed majoritarian devils that now rule.
Posted by: restless94110 | Jun 8, 2018 8:38:42 PM
Personally, I would love it if every time a politician said "$EX offender" that they immediately got a bullet right between the eyes. Would be well deserved. A Registered person might have harmed no one, one person, or perhaps even several. But a lying, harassing, terrorist politician harms millions for decades. They deserve death.
And similarly, I can't see enough government buildings blown up. I think it is great when a person gets tired of the idiotic harassment and retaliates. I would love to see every single person who is arrested for a BS Registry offense to silently and violently retaliate.
Why aren't Registered people shooting up government people? Night clubs? Malls? Schools? I do wonder.
For those of us that want to retaliate legally, obviously that includes first of all ensuring that the Registries are even more worthless than they naturally are. Registered people should be around children all the time, anonymously very often. A Registered person in those situations should think about how people could be attacked and try to understand how Registry Terrorists think their Nanny Big Government lists could prevent it.
Registered people should never support any criminal regime that supports Registries. Never support their law enforcement criminals. Let the hate grow. Much can be done to retaliate.
Posted by: FRegistryTerrorists | Jun 10, 2018 12:56:26 PM