Michigan Sex Offender Registry Needs Reforming

A recent editorial in the Detroit Metrotimes calls for the abolition of the Michigan Sex Crimes Registry – calling the registry “a half-baked noble idea that was rushed into law in Lansing – and turned into something dangerously bad.” Michigan’s registry is similar to “Megan’s Laws,” which were implemented around the country after Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl was raped and murdered by a man with a history of convictions for sex crimes who lived across the street. Megan’s Law requires that persons convicted of sex crimes against children notify law enforcement of changes of address and employment for long periods of time, often 25 years to life.

However Michigan’s sex registration law is more severe, requiring people of all types of “sex crimes” to register, providing drivers license pictures and addresses. As the article points out, not only are violent offenders listed, but also 16-years-olds who have sex with their 15-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend, those who sext, and those arrested for indecent exposure – such as public urination.

Once your name is on the registry, it may be hard to get a job, attend a college of your choice or live wherever you like.

In addition to the inequity and arbitrariness of the registry, studies have shown that it doesn’t act as a deterrent to crime. A New Jersey study revealed that the registry had no effect on reducing sexual offenses.

The editorial concluded that Michigan’s sex crime must be abolished.

As a Michigan sex crimes defense attorney, I agree. Too often people’s lives are significantly impacted by a consensual act or other non-serious offense that may lead to the loss of job opportunities, student loans, participation in government programs, the freedom to live where you want and the ability to attend certain schools. Placement of your name on the sex crimes registry also creates a stigma that is often hard to avoid.

Until the registry is abolished, it’s critical to contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney to keep your name off the registry. If you have been charged with a Michigan sex crime, the attorneys at Grabel & Associates will fight to protect your future and your freedom.

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