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Michigan, SORA is Changing

Michigan is about to shortly change the rules of the State's Sex Offender Registration Act. These changes are meant to streamline registration as a process, and give flexibility and relief to those who may not belong on the registry for the long term.

Michigan's Sex Offender Registration Act, is now a one tier system, which puts all members of the registry on the same footing, no matter the crime. The act now treats dangerous child predators the same way as it treats teenagers convicted for having sexual relations with their underage significant other (so called "Romeo and Juliet" offenders).

Recently, the state of Michigan has passed preliminary bills which would drastically change this system. Under this schema, Michigan would become a "Three tier" registration state. First tier offenders would be those convicted of lesser sex offenses such as indecent exposure. These offenders would not be listed on the public registry, but would register directly with the State Police once per year for 15 years. These offenders could even petition a judge to be removed after 10 years. Additionally, many of those "Romeo and Juliet" offenders would not even be included on the registry if the judge could find that there was consent of both parties (although the act is still criminal, it would not trigger registry)

Second tier registration would used be for individuals convicted of offenses such as date rape, 2nd degree and 3rd degree criminal sexual conduct offenses (CSC). These offenders would have to register twice per year with the State Police, and would be on the public registry for 25 years.

The most serious sexual offenders would be Third Tier offenders. This tier is for those persons convicted of crimes such as 1st degree CSC, and sexually molesting a child under 13. Tier Three offenders would register four times per year, and would be on the public registry for their entire life.

While these guidelines have yet to be finalized, and could change, it is promising to see that the State of Michigan recognizes the impact of the Registry and is willing to work with.

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