St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Sex offenders

Year of Sex Offender Conviction Does Not Matter to Registry

sex offender conviction

In 1995, the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA) went into effect, meaning convictions before that year may not have been listed on the books. However, requiring a sex offender to register after the fact as a “recapturing” is indeed constitutional, according to the state Court of Appeals.

Recapturing Is Constitutional

The decision came in People v. Tucker, which featured a sex offender convicted in 1990 of crimes that would have required registry under SORA. However, the conviction predated SORA by five years. In 2013, when the same defendant pleaded no contest to domestic violence charges, he asked to be removed from the registry because it increased his punishment after sentencing.

However, the court considered it a modification that had been waiting for the proper moment to be added to the record. That moment came when the defendant was convicted of another crime before the court. In cases such as these, an experienced sex offender attorney in Cass County can help fight through parts of the law that can seem abusive at times.

No Infliction of Punishment

The recapture could have been ruled unconstitutional if the defendant showed it was cruel and unusual punishment based on past offenses. However, the court affirmed that registering under the SORA is not a punishment but rather a protection for the public good. Forcing the defendant to register retroactively was simply a carrying out of the law.

Ex Post Facto Clauses protect against excessive punishments being added after sentencing because of a timing issue. The right sex offender attorney can help a client navigate through these tricky areas of the law and get the proper defense and outcome.

If you need expert counsel and representation in a sex offender case or other criminal matter, contact Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC at 269.982.1100 or visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com for further information.

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judges age limit

Judges Age Limit of 70 Unlikely to Stay in Place

judges age limit

A new senate joint resolution would lift the age limit of 70 for state judges and has received the support of the State Bar Representative Assembly. Likewise, a house joint resolution that would push the age limit to 75 is also being supported as a compromise that would achieve some of the same goals. Voters would have to take up the issue in order to amend the constitution.

Age Does Not Equal Competence

The arguments against term limits are simple. As of now, there is no way to remove judges showing little competence, regardless of their age. With the age limit of 70 for judges, many of the state’s best have been pushed out the door because of an event on the calendar that corresponds to the judge’s birthday. Performance is not taken into account.

On the other hand, judges who are 50 or younger and performing poorly in their roles can feel safe that there are several decades ahead in the job. This issue has forced several attempts to end the age restrictions for serving as a judge. In fact, the system in place represents age discrimination to many observers.

A Question of Civil Rights

Michigan Appeals Court Judge Peter D. O’Connell told Michigan Lawyers Weekly the age limit was outdated. “Requiring competent judges to leave at age 70 is a violation of our civil rights,” he said. “Age is not the factor. It’s competence, and [the question is] how do you get rid of people who aren’t doing the job.”

To find out where the provision comes from, the trail goes all the way back to 1908. Since then, life expectancy has changed a great deal and the standard in place a century ago is hardly relevant to 2015 and beyond. As Judge O’Connell said, “70 is the new 50.” Soon enough, Michigan voters may weigh in on the subject. For further information please visit www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com .

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