I know what you’re thinking… This is GREAT news, but wasn’t the retroactive application of Michigan’s sex offender law already declared unconstitutional. Well yes… you’re thinking of the incredible Does v. Snyder case in the 6th Circuit FEDERAL appellate court (the state tried to take it to the US Supreme Court but they declined to hear it). This decision comes from the STATE supreme court, which held:

“…the 2011 SORA, when applied to registrants whose criminal acts predated the enactment of the 2011 SORA amendments, violates the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws.”

In this case, someone whose offense date was decades prior to the enactment of certain amendments in 2011, could not be convicted of violating those amended requirements.

The order is immensely helpful because it begins with an analysis of the evolution of Michigan’s Registry. Like Florida (even not as bad as Florida), Michigan’s registry requirements are exponentially more onerous than they were when the statute was enacted.

Most states use 2003’s Smith v. Doe as justification for piling as many additional requirements to the registry as they want, and call it “non-punitive”. But they are missing a very important point that some courts are beginning to get. The SCOTUS held the 2003 VERSION of Alaska’s registry was non-punitive. That DOES NOT mean that the 2021 VERSION of Florida’s registry is not punitive. That’s an important distinction!

While the Michigan Supreme Court is only binding on Michigan, it’s certainly useful persuasive precedent.

You can read the decision here: https://courts.michigan.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/Clerks/Recent%20Opinions/20-21%20Term%20Opinions/148981.pdf

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