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Sex Offender Registration Act

Big Changes Coming to the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act

Sex Offender Registration Act

Like most states, Michigan requires individuals convicted of certain sexual offenses to register with local law enforcement. Currently, certain basic information is available to the general public about these individuals. But starting July 1, 2011, the Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act is getting an overhaul. The three biggest changes are:

  • The implementation of 3 tiers of offenses based on their nature and severity with different registry requirements for each; and
  • The requirement of registering individuals to provide more information and report changes more quickly;
  • The exclusion of so-called Romeo & Juliet and juvenile offenders from registration.

This post will briefly describe the new Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act focusing primarily on the changes coming in July.

 

3 Tiers of Offenses Treat Offenses Based on Nature and Severity

As the law presently stands, any person convicted of a listed offense is required to register as a sex offender for 25 years as a first offender and for life as a repeat offender. Listed Offenses range from a conviction for disorderly person with indecent or obscene conduct up to and including Criminal Sexual Conduct in the first degree (rape), Kidnapping a minor, and Creating Child Abusive Material (child pornography). While the Offender Detail on the website indicates the particular offense the individual was convicted of, all offenders are treated the same and listed together in the same list. When observing a list of offenders in a particular geographic area, there is no differentiation between a repeat child molester and a person who was convicted of indecent exposure (streaking). Under the new amendment, each database entry will indicate the tier of the offender, so that the public will know the severity of the offense without having to wade through the convicted offenses.

A Tier 1 Offender is a person who commits one of the following offenses (including attempts and conspiracy to commit the offense):

  • Possession of Child Abusive Material (child pornography)
  • Aggravated Indecent Exposure toward a minor
  • Unlawful Imprisonment of a minor
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree and Criminal Sexual Assault of an adult
  • Stalking of a minor

Tier 1 Offenders must register 1 time per year for 15 years following their conviction or release from jail or prison.

A Tier 2 Offender is a person who commits a second Tier 1 Offense, or a person who commits one of the following offenses (including attempts and conspiracy to commit the offense):

  • Accosting or Soliciting a minor (1st or 2nd offense)
  • Creation or Distribution of Child Abusive Material (child pornography)
  • Use of a Computer in a Sexual Felony
  • Sodomy unless
    • The victim was between 13 and 16 years of age and consented to the act with an individual not 4 years older than the victim; or
    • The victim was 16 or 17 years of age and consented to the act with an individual who was not in his or her household or a position of custodial authority at the time.
  • Gross Indecency unless one of the above exceptions applies
  • Solicitation of Prostitution or Immoral Act of a minor
  • Pandering
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree or 4th Degree, or Criminal Sexual Assault of a minor over 13 years of age
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree of an adult

Tier 2 Offenders must register 2 times per year for 25 years following their conviction or release from jail or prison.

A Tier 3 Offender is a person who commits another listed offense after being required to register as a Tier 2 Offender, or a person who commits one of the following offenses (including attempts and conspiracy to commit the offense):

  • Gross Indecency with a minor under 13
  • Kidnapping of a minor
  • Parental Kidnapping
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 1st Degree or 3rd Degree, or Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault unless the victim was between 13 and 16 years of age and consented to the act with an individual not 4 years older than the victim
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree or Criminal Sexual Assault against a minor less than 13 years of age
  • Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree committed by a person age 17 or older against a minor less than 13 years of age

Tier 3 Offenders must register 4 times per year for life.

Importantly, the new listed offenses exclude Indecent Exposure (other than aggravated) and Disorderly Person. Also, the amended statute eliminates a much-contested catch all provision that allowed a judge to require a person to register if convicted of an unlisted offense that was sexual in nature.

 

Sex Offenders Will Be Required to Provide More Information

The law as it stands now requires sex offenders to report their:

  • Name,
  • Social security number,
  • Birth date,
  • Residential address,
  • Physical description;
  • Photograph; and
  • Fingerprints.

Starting July 1, 2011, individuals who are required to register will have to provide all of the above information as well as reporting:

  • Any temporary residence where they will stay for more than 7 days;
  • Employers (including contractors);
  • Schools where they are enrolled;
  • Telephone numbers;
  • Email addresses and instant message screen names or identifiers;
  • License plate, registration, and description of any motor vehicle they regularly use;
  • Drivers License Number (or state identification card number);
  • Digital copies of their passports or immigration documents;
  • Professional licenses; and
  • Palm prints.

All of this information will be made available to law enforcement agents. The public will have access to all of this information except the individual social security number, travel and immigration documents, and email addresses or instant message screen names. In addition, the public website will contain a description of the sexual offense of which the individual was convicted, as well as any additional sexual offenses they were charged with at the time.

In addition, where today a sex offender must register changes in residence within 10 days of changing that residence, beginning July 1, 2011, that individual must report within 3 days of:

  • Changing residences;
  • Changing employment or having employment terminated for any reason;
  • Enrolling as a student or discontinuing enrollment;
  • Changing his or her name;
  • Temporarily residing in another location for more than 7 days;
  • Establishing any new email or instant message addresses
  • Purchasing or beginning to use any vehicle or selling or discontinue use of any vehicle

Also, the one time registration fee will increase from $35.00 to $50.00. The result of these changes will be that the public will have access to significantly more information on sex offenders in their geographic area, but the burden on those required to register will be significantly greater. It is likely that this will result in significantly more prosecutions for failure to comply with this act.

 

Romeo & Juliet and Juvenile Offenders Can Petition to Be Excluded from the Registry

For the first time, the amended statute will provide a method for certain offenders to be excluded from registration based on the circumstances of their particular offense. In deciding whether to exclude a particular individual, the courts will consider:

  • The offender age and maturity at the time of the offense
  • The victim age and maturity at the time of the offense
  • The nature of the offense
  • The severity of the offense
  • The offender prior criminal and juvenile history
  • The likelihood the offender will commit further sexual offenses
  • Any victim impact statement
  • Any other relevant information.

However, if the court determines the individual continues to be a threat to the public, the request will be denied.

Tier 1 Offenders may petition the court:

  • 10 years after their conviction or release from jail or prison
  • If they have no subsequent felony convictions
  • If they have no subsequent listed offenses
  • If they have successfully completed any probation or parole without revocation; and
  • If they have completed a sex offender treatment program.

Tier 3 Offenders may petition the court:

  • 25 years after their adjudication or release from confinement
  • If they were adjudicated responsible as a juvenile offender
  • If they have no subsequent felony convictions
  • If they have no subsequent listed offenses
  • If they have successfully completed any probation or parole without revocation; and
  • If they have completed a sex offender treatment program.

All offenders may petition the court if the conviction was the result of a consensual sexual act and

  • The victim was between the ages of 13 and 16 and the offender was less than 4 years older; or
  • In Sodomy or Gross Indecency cases, the victim was between the ages of 13 and 16 and the offender was less than 4 years older; or
  • In Sodomy, Gross Indecency, or Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree cases, the victim was 16 years old or more and not a part of the same household or under custodial authority of the offender

All offenders may also petition the court if they were adjudicated as a juvenile and were less than 14 years of age at the time of the offense, or if the offense for which they are required to register is no longer a listed offense after July 1, 2011.

 

The Sex Offender Registration Act has always been a complicated statute and has always carefully balanced the needs of the public against the rights of sexual offenders. The upcoming changes are equally complex but they will hopefully allow offenders to be treated differently in appropriate proportion to the nature and severity of the offense, and will allow the public to better distinguish the real threats to its safety.

 

 

* Please note: Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular case which may result in an outcome other than is described above. This post is not intended as legal advice and may not apply to your particular case. It is always best to contact our office for a consultation if you have been or believe you may be charged with a crime.

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