St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Sex Offenders Registry

Michigan Supreme Court Will Review Sex Offender Registry Requirements

Sex Offenders Registry

Since Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA) became law, those convicted of relevant crimes in the past have been affected after the fact. Those who pled guilty to crimes before the law existed are subject to consequences they were not prepared for at the time of their case. As a result, the Supreme Court of Michigan will review the details of SORA in the effort to clarify the meaning of requirements.

What SORA Means for Past Offenders

A criminal defense lawyer who advised a client to accept a guilty plea prior to SORA may proceed differently with the new requirements in mind. This issue has come up several times since the law took effect, including in People v. Temelkoski (2013), when the defendant pled guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct following an incident with a 12-year-old girl.

Though SORA was not in effect at the time, the law’s passing later meant the individual would enter the sex offender registry for life. Had this law been in place, a criminal defense lawyer may advise a client to take the case to trial. When there is a dispute in the circumstances of a case, going to trial may be worth it to the defendant. A guilty plea opens the door to consequences that could be considered severe.

How SORA Requirements Could Change

In People vs. Temelkoski, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that SORA served as a civil remedy rather than a punishment as previously defined by the law. Therefore, a defendant was not being punished and would have to register for life under SORA for the good of society. The Supreme Court will review whether this and other requirements hold up under further scrutiny.

Besides the requirement of past offenders to register for life regardless of circumstances, the court will consider how to handle juvenile offenders under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (HYTA). Offenders are entitled to have convictions removed from their records upon completion of probation under HYTA. The court will also look into these distinctions.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Michigan such as the highly sought after Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC can help you understand the options after being charged with a crime. For further information or to schedule an appointment please contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit

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Police Dogs

Request to Search with Police Dogs Are Legal Under Fourth Amendment

 police dogs and 4th amendment

U.S. citizens have protections from unreasonable searches and seizures under the Fourth Amendment, but the lines are often blurred in real-world applications by police. One example is the practice of a “knock and talk” by police in early-morning hours. Even if police are armed and wearing vests while leading police dogs, Michigan courts consider their searches legal if request to enter is granted.

Appeals Court Allows Search Under SCOTUS Ruling

An experienced defense attorney in Michigan will be familiar with the techniques used by police to obtain evidence in hopes of incriminating suspects. In some cases, the bounds of the law are crossed in order to make a conviction hold up in court. Even if such a conviction is justified in the end, illegal searches are very dangerous in a free society and must be checked by courts.

In People v. Frederick (2015), the Michigan Court of Appeals examined the Supreme Court’s ruling on a previous case with respect to a “knock and talk” incident involving police and a home with occupants suspected of growing marijuana. Though officers approached the home in vests while leading a police dog — which began barking after smelling marijuana – the act of knocking on the door and requesting access constituted a legal means of search in the eyes of the court.

Distinctions in Police Methods

A defense attorney in Michigan with a track record in state courts will recognize the techniques used by police in the Frederick case. Since officers are allowed to walk up to a home and knock on the door like any other citizen, the court found they did not show intent to search prior to arrival, despite the presence of the police dog and bulletproof vests, not to mention the early-morning hour of the approach.

Should the resident reject the officers’ request to enter and search, police would be allowed to wait at the premises while the effort to obtain a warrant began. In cases where the police are granted entry with such a show of force, the searches are likely to be considered legal unless there was no attempt to engage the occupant of the home prior to the search request.

A qualified defense attorney in Michigan such as the Peter J. Johnson Law Office, PLLC can help protect anyone charged with crimes following a search of questionable legality. For further information or to schedule an appointment with one of our highly successful and sought after criminal defense attorneys please contact us at 269.982.1100 or visit

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