Judge Bans Enforcement Of Sex Offender Registration Due To Coronavirus

Holly Matkin

Law enforcement officers in Michigan are prohibited from enforcing sex offender registry laws until after the pandemic.

Port Huron, MI – A federal judge has barred law enforcement officers from enforcing Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry requirements until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed.

In 2015 and 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland and the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals determined that several aspects of the state’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) were unconstitutional, the Times Herald reported.

In 2018, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a class-action lawsuit asking the court to grant injunctive relief for many sex offenders on the grounds that the legislature failed to make amendments to the SORA that would have made the law constitutional, according to the Times Herald.

On Feb. 14, Cleland ruled that sections of the law that were enacted in 2011 could not be imposed on individuals who were ordered to register prior to 2011, and also struck down other rules entirely.

According to the judge, sex offenders “have been forced to comply with unconstitutional provisions,” MLive reported.

Cleland said that requiring sex offenders to report all of their phone numbers, email addresses, and instant messaging addresses violates their First Amendment rights, according to the Jurist.

Provisions prohibiting sex offenders from working or “loitering” in school zones were struck down due to their “vagueness,” the Jurist reported.

Cleland required the state and the ACLU to file judgements by March 13 regarding the process by which the state’s sex offenders would be notified about the SORA changes, but both parties ended up requesting an extension, according to the Times Herald.

Cleland pushed the matter out to March 20, but by the time that date rolled around, the global pandemic was well underway.

As a result of the chaos caused by COVID-19, the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registration Unit was unable to submit their judgement, Cleland said.

The disruption caused by the novel coronavirus also made it nearly impossible to mail out notices to the state’s approximately 44,000 sex offenders because so many state employees were trying to work from home, the judge added.

Cleland said that sex offenders cannot comply with requirements to meet with law enforcement officers in-person because many offices are no longer open to the public, the Times Herald reported.

He declared that it is “effectively impossible for registrants” to comply with existing laws, and said that doing so “would in any event be inconsistent with current physical isolation directives,” according to MLive.

On April 6, Cleland issued an interim order barring police from enforcing the SORA altogether.

Under the temporary order, officials cannot enforce “registration, verification, school zone, and fee violations of SORA that occurred or may occur from February 14, 2020, until the current crisis has ended, and thereafter until registrants are notified of what duties they have under SORA going forward,” the Times Herald reported.

The issue will be reexamined after federal and state emergency statuses have been lifted, MLive reported.

Comments (96)
No. 1-14
ScaleriBrosLawyer
ScaleriBrosLawyer

Are you really a good guy when you're fighting tooth and nail for the rights of rapists and child molesters though?

JBoH
JBoH

By all means...let's look out for the well being of sex offenders because those onerous provisions like school zones are unfair. SOLM (Sex Offender Lives Matter). /sarc and I really hope everybody knew that was sarcasm, but maybe not...so, /sarc again.

Anomie88
Anomie88

Maybe he can invite them all to his house, so as to make sure they aren't doing anything wrong. Heck,he can have them babysit his grandkids while he is working from his posh home office.

Rudy101
Rudy101

I REFUSE the registry and have for well over a decade for just the reason why the registry was ruled unconstitutional. It is a PUNISHMENT applied out side of a court and ex-post facto.

Forbidden
Forbidden

CRAP BRO!! one of them lives in my neighborhood. he's been watching me riding my little bicycle for the past 10 years waiting for this moment. I'm 17 so he still thinks I'm pretty juicy.

DaisyMae92
DaisyMae92

We (I firmly believe) were all born with some common sense. Plain ole COMMON SENSE. Many, Many people have pushed it to the back of the mind OR chosen to forget it due to selfishness and in some cases of judges and politicians, to push for their own agenda.
The judge said the law was vague about not working or loitering in a school zone. I understand it. It’s Not Vague!
It’s unconstitutional to provide email addresses, phone numbers, etc.
I disagree 100%. When you harm a child, you forfeit your rights.
Ending my venting now.

kgolfinghawaii
kgolfinghawaii

I believe someone is a closet sex offender, JUDGE.

Stanracer
Stanracer

Wait...what??? Another bonehead move from some bleeding heart liberal judge?👎😣

skidrowvet
skidrowvet

Man I though california was bad- But then again they are letting asshole out the jail at night for a few weeks-to protect them, screw us, literally in some near future cases. michigan a state where you can be a kiddie raper, buy booze and lottery tickets BUT not attend church , buy seeds or the American Flag- This is the craziest shit ever folks.

Motor141
Motor141

What an IDIOT...he is part of the PROBLEM and in some dark secretive world involved in it...🤬😡🤬!

JohDia01
JohDia01

It is proven that criminals most often reoffend if not rehabilitated and it is the right of citizens to know where sex offenders are residing. Felons lost their rights when they offended and are not privy to protection from public records of felonious criminal arrests. All crimes are public records!

Rudy101
Rudy101

It is clear from the comments exactly how dangerous a sex offender registry is to public safety. What else could be the outcome when a list of so-called, the worst people of society, is given to society (but dangerousness is not a requirement) and society is told to make their own judgment?

It leads to violence directed to offenders, it leads to ridiculous outcomes where any reasonable person would conclude that some on the list don't belong on it, and it leads to HIGHER rates of re-offending by desperate outcasts who have nothing to lose.

The registry is not a civil law but a cruel punishment applied outside of a court without any regard to dangerousness and to the safety of offenders, while specifically, denying any challenges, appeals, or hearings to determine if the punishment is appropriate or actually protects the community.

It is clearly spelled out in the law that NO PERSON must choose between following the law or their safery and/or security.

Thus this is a proclamation and notice that I will not follow ANY registry law UNTIL a fair hearing in a court of law with due process protections are afforded.

The Constitution is not a popularity contest. The protections for the convicted will never be popular. But those protections are there for just the purpose of limiting government's ability to constantly politicize and punish without regard to the sanctity of a sentence passed by a court of law.

No ex-post facto laws, no double punishments, no cruel and unusual punishments. Those are the rules.

JohDia01
JohDia01

You lost your rights as soon as you offended! What gives you the right to live your life without consequences or repercussions because you are a sexual deviant. Your feelings and rights don’t matter as soon as you violated and destroyed someone else’s life! You are selfish and a narcissistic!

Rudy101
Rudy101

1/3 of all adults have some sort of criminal record.

Let's assume a drunk driver gets caught, pays their fine, loses their license for a specified period of time and then quits drinking, never to have a problem again.

However, a legislature has determined that drunk drivers are an inherent risk to the community. Drunks do ever quit AA has a 80% failure rate. Therefore a civil law to protect the community will be passed to deny licenses to ALL those convicted of drunk driving REGARDLESS of when the conviction happened.

Would that be fair?

I am going to parade a bunch of victims of people and families whose lives were destroyed by drunk drivers just so you all understand WHY EVERYONE who ever got a DUI should NEVER be allowed to drive again.

Nobody can even show any RIGHTS to have a driver's license.

But almost everyone can show how important a license is to live and work.

Is it LEGAL to take a license for all convicted and do it by law and even long after the punishment is over?

Meet the sex offender registry...


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