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February 5, 2010

Michigan court says state sex offender registration law does not apply to homeless

As detailed in this local article, which is headlined "Michigan appeals court: Homeless sex offenders don't have to register," a new opinion about sex offender resigration requirements is causing a stir in Michigan. Here are the basic details:

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled that homeless sex criminals don’t have to comply with Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act. Many law enforcement officials — who often have to deal with sex offenders who claim they have no permanent residence — aren’t happy with the ruling.

In a published opinion released Tuesday that sets a statewide precedent, a three-judge panel unanimously upheld a trial court’s dismissal of charges against a homeless Ingham County man for failing to register, failing to comply with reporting duties and failing to pay registration fees.

The appeals judges ruled that it’s impossible for a homeless person to comply with the law, which requires convicted sex criminals to report their “domicile or residence” to police. The judges concluded that a homeless sex offender, by definition, has neither.

The judges’ opinion bluntly urges state lawmakers to fix the law. “The Legislature is free, indeed, empowered, to ... include a provision addressing reporting requirements for the homeless,” said the opinion signed by judges Jane M. Beckering, Jane E. Markey and Stephen L. Borrello.  “The purpose of (the Sex Offender Registry Act) is wise, and the Legislature is urged to consider changes so that a homeless person who does not have a domicile or residence may readily comply with its requirements,” the judges wrote.

The ruling in People v. Dowdy is available at this link.

February 5, 2010 at 10:06 AM | Permalink


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A newspaper report ths weekend indicated that the prosecutor will seek leave to appeal the Court of Appeals decision to the Michigan Supreme Court. If he does so, the case law indicates that, while the application for leave to appeal is pending, and if granted, while the case is on appeal, the Court of Appeals decision will be of no precendential force or effect.

Posted by: Greg Jones | Feb 8, 2010 4:35:02 PM

that is fucking bullshit. this law has ruined my life and i have to report every 3 months. why shouldnt some one that doesnt work hard everyday?

Posted by: chris | Mar 18, 2011 1:17:19 PM

That law is eliminate my husband life and our family they need to work on that feel good law

Posted by: marie | Jan 3, 2013 2:11:16 PM

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