People v. Lymon, No. 327355 (Mich. Ct. App. 2022)
Nature of Case: Defendant was convicted in Michigan of torture, unlawful imprisonment, felonious assault, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. In addition to his sentences of imprisonment, defendant was required to register under Michigan’s sex offense registry act (“SORA”) because two of his unlawful imprisonment convictions involved minors. All of the relevant charges in this case arose from an incident in 2014 when defendant confronted his wife with what he believed to be evidence of extramarital affairs. His children were both present during the extended confrontation during which defendant threatened his family with a gun. Although defendant was required to register on Michigan’s sex offense registry based on his charges of unlawful imprisonment, there were no allegations that the underlying incident involved sexual conduct or motivation whatsoever.
On appeal defendant argues that his placement of the sex offense registry violates federal and state prohibitions against cruel and unusual punishment.
Holding: The Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed defendant’s convictions but remanded the case for entry of an order removing defendant from the sex offense registry. In so holding, the Court concluded that Michigan’s SORA statute, as amended in 2021, is punitive in effect and that its punishment was cruel and unusual as applied to defendant because “the registration requirement was unjustifiably disproportionate to the offense committed, there was nothing to suggest that the danger defendant posed to the public was related to a sexual offense, nor was there anything to suggest that he would have committed a sexual offense in the future.”