Sex offenders whose convictions predated 2011 changes to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act do not need to comply with those changes, the Michigan Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The 2011 requirements — which included bans on living within school safety zones and “onerous” in-person reporting requirements — constituted a new form of punishment that cannot be applied retroactively to past cases, a high court majority said in an opinion written by Justice Elizabeth Clement.

“These demanding and intrusive requirements, imposed uniformly on all registrants regardless of an individual’s risk of recidivism, were excessive in comparison to SORA’s asserted public-safety purpose,” Clement wrote. “…the retroactive imposition of the 2011 SORA increases registrants’ punishment for their committed offenses in violation of federal and state constitutional prohibitions on ex post facto laws.”

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