On Wednesday, February 5 a hearing took place in Port Huron to determine the future of Michigan’s controversial Sex Offender Registry Act, or SORA. The state’s current sex offender registry law was ruled unconstitutional in 2016 and U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland was asked to update it. Michigan currently has one of the largest sex offender registries in the country.
The law was initially brought into question by a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2016 against Michigan State Police and the Governor’s Office on behalf of convicted sex offenders who claimed their civil rights were violated.
Our founding attorney Alyson Oliver attended and spoke at Wednesday’s hearing about the future of this unconstitutional law.
What Makes SORA Unconstitutional?
We’ve written before about the negative impacts of SORA. It prohibits sex offenders from living or working within 1,000 feet of a school, requires them to register their email addresses and other personal information, and calls on them to report to police at least four times a year. These retroactive punishments directly violate registrants’ constitutional rights, which offers protections against increasing penalties for a crime after its commission and adjudication.
Media Coverage of the Hearing
Michigan’s Assistant Attorney Generals and the ACLU disagree on how the law should be fixed. Both argued their cases before U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland in Port Huron’s federal court on Wednesday. Attorney Alyson Oliver joined ACLU attorney Miriam Aukerman in defending our joint case.
The Attorney General’s Office is hesitant to force legislative revision through the federal courts while the ACLU has been fighting to change SORA since 2016. Together with the ACLU and the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program, Oliver Law Group, P.C. filed a class-action lawsuit in 2018, which this Times Herald article mentions in its media coverage of Wednesday’s hearing.
To learn more about the hearing, watch this video, which features Attorney Oliver speaking to the press.
How Our Firm Is Involved
The individuals on Michigan’s sex offender registry are listed unconstitutionally. Both in their public and private lives, they have been subjected to a life of constant regulation and many have had their reputations and livelihoods irrevocably damaged.
To combat these injustices, Oliver Law Group, P.C. jointly filed a lawsuit against Michigan’s governor as well as the director of the Michigan State Police. We are the only private law firm in Michigan who has been appointed class counsel with the ACLU and the University of Michigan Clinical Law Program in this historic case.
As the fight continues, we invite anyone affected by the sex offender registry to contact us. We may be able to represent you. You are also welcome to continue to follow our blog for updates on this matter.
Contact us today to set up your free, initial case evaluation to see how we can help.