Court Orders SORA Change

In Blog by Chris Kessel

At least 4 to 5 times a month I get a call from someone who is on the Sex Offender Registry, asking if the law has been changed since 2012. Let me give you a little background…

In 2012, the Michigan Sex Offender Registry (SORA) was changed. Many of these changes, specifically as it relates to younger offenders and the ability for some “lifetime” registrants, were positive. However, many were not. Specifically, there were people who had been off of the Registry under the old law who were now forced to re-register. Naturally people in this position were both frustrated and upset. Further, the law made it almost impossible for some people to find a place to live, based on some of the restrictions in the law.

In 2016, a case challenging SORA made its way to the Sixth Circuit Court (the federal court in Cincinnati, not the court in Oakland County). Surprisingly, the court held that Michigan’s SORA, as written, was unconstitutional. The Court further ordered that the state legislature rewrite the law to comply with the ruling of the court. Well I’m sure you can imagine that the legislature immediate set about to their task…

So here we are in 2019 and there have been no changes…until now.

Recently a federal judge in Michigan ordered (here is the order) that the legislature rewrite the law, and that it do so in 90 days. While I won’t be holding my breath, I am excited to see that we appear to be one step closer to changing this law.