May 24th, 2019 | By Aleanna Siacon
A U.S. district court judge is giving Michigan lawmakers 90 days to change the state’s sex offender registry law, almost three years after it was first ruled unconstitutional by federal appeals court.
U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland issued an order that the law must be changed on Thursday.
The ruling stems from an August 2016 decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati which found that Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry Act was unconstitutional.
Under Michigan’s law:
- Offenders have been prohibited from living, working or even standing within 1,000 feet of a school.
- They must immediately register email address or vehicles, plus report to the police as often as four times a year.
- The rules currently apply to all offenders on the registry — even if they’ve gone decades without committing and crimes.
- The appeals court found the law in violation of constitutional protections against increasing penalties for a crime after its commission and adjudication.
The state appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case — effectively upholding the 6th Circuit ruling.
But the state has kept the law in place. It argued that the rulings only applied to the specific plaintiffs who brought them — because the appeals court decision came in civil cases instead of class-action lawsuits.