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 www.AttorneyPeterJohnson.com.