U.S. District Court Judge Robert Cleland issued a decision that invalidates parts of the Michigan Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA). His ruling has stated that parts of SORA are actually unconstitutional and must be rewritten. This ruling affects some 44,000 people that are currently on the registry. This is a fight that has been raging on since the same Judge making a similar ruling back in 2015. The state legislature has been pushed to rewrite SORA legislation so it can fall back under constitutional rules, but as of this writing they have not done so.
What Parts Were Declared Unconstitutional?
Most of the issues relating to SORA have to do with the residency exclusions that people on the registry face. These restrictions are overbroad and vague. Other areas that have been ruled unconstitutional deal with requirements related to registration, restrictions on loitering, and reporting and registration requirements. The judge stated that the court recognizes that his ruling will “fracture” the existing structure of SORA. One of the biggest claims against SORA is that many of the requirements in SORA have been changed and retroactively applied to everyone on the registry after the fact, in effect further punishing those who have already been punished for their crimes.