Comment from William Dobbs:
A late summer win! Yesterday a three judge panel (Gilbert Merritt, Alice Batchelder and Bernice Donald) of the US Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a decision remarkable for what it does, the legal reasoning, and explicit hope for future legal challenges.
Legislators have a habit of imposing new punishments on those already sentenced for sex offenses. The court put a stop to that, declaring the practice “ex post facto” and unconstitutional. Many of Michigan’s 40,000+ registrants will benefit shortly.
Is the registry punishment? Registrants and just about anybody else would say yes. Courts, however, usually say no, viewing the registry as an administrative matter, sidestepping consideration of legal challenges by registrants.
The Sixth Circuit judges took a careful look, got real, and resoundingly declared the registry is punishment—an important holding by a federal circuit court. The 14-page decision ends with tantalizing hope for the future, noting that claims the court did not consider are “far from frivolous and involve matters of great public importance.” The infernal registry is still standing but this is a significant victory for reason and justice.
Does v. Snyder
US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Case Nos. 15-1536/2346/2486
Decision filed Aug. 25, 2016:
Audio of oral argument - Part One--Jan. 27, 2016 .. Part Two--Apr. 27, 2016
Court: Michigan's toughened sex offender rules cannot be retroactive by David Eggert
Appeals Court Says Michigan Sex Offender Law Flawed And Not Working by Rick Pluta