St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Court Reverses Sex Offender Ruling

Court Reverses Sex Offender RulingA Michigan man is headed to the sex offenders registry after the Michigan Supreme Court reversed a key ruling in his case. In the original trial, a 19-year-old was sentenced to adjudication for an incident involving a 12-year-old girl. As part of his sentence, he was required to register as a sex offender, though the court dismissed his case and did not provide a conviction due to his successful completion of his probation.

A trial court granted the individual’s motion that he be exempt from the registration requirement based on the argument that registering as a sex offender for life represented cruel and unusual punishment. In other words, the court sided with the defendant, ruling that joining the sex offenders registry would be excessive punishment for his crime. Though the case was fought by a competent sex offender attorney in Michigan, this ruling would turn out to be only temporary.

The Michigan Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision based on a number of key factors:

• The court held that SORA, the act which demands mandatory sex offender registration, was not designed for punishment but for the aid of law enforcement officers and other individuals.

• It also held that SORA was intended to protect the welfare of the public and that the defendant failed to show SORA to be punitive.

• The court argued that the SORA requirements did not represent punishment as related to the case and has not been regarded as punishment in other cases.

The end result? The ruling was overturned. Put simply, the Michigan Supreme Court determined that SORA was never designed as a punishment and cannot be thought of as “cruel and unusual” because it exists for the welfare of others rather than to harm the individual to which it applies. Working with an experienced and prominent sex offender attorney in Michigan is an important step in determining how SORA might apply to a case and which options are available. For more information please visit or contact us at 269.982.1100.

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