ACLU of Michigan Calls on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to Veto Unconstitutional SORA Legislation

Affiliate: ACLU of Michigan
December 16, 2020 5:00 pm

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DETROIT – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan (ACLU) calls on Governor Gretchen Whitmer to veto unconstitutional Michigan Sex Offender Registration Act legislation that state lawmakers rushed to pass in the final days of this lame duck session. State Senators held no hearings, ignored the nearly universal testimony opposing the bill, which includes the same bloated, ineffective registry that has already been found unconstitutional by the courts and that undermines public safety.

In a challenge brought by the ACLU, the current law was found unconstitutional by the federal district court in 2015, and the federal Court of Appeals in 2016. When Michigan continued to enforce the unconstitutional law, the ACLU and partners brought a class action lawsuit, and the federal court again found the law unconstitutional. This legislation heading to the Governor’s desk leaves the existing law largely unchanged, despite the repeated judicial decisions that it is unconstitutional, and the millions of wasted tax dollars spent defending it.

Miriam Aukerman, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan senior staff attorney, has this reaction:

“This legislation ignores the judicial rulings, rejects the science and makes Michigan communities and families less safe. The research is clear: registries don’t work. As the courts have pointed out, registries are counterproductive and may increase offending because they make it extremely difficult for registrants to obtain a job, find housing, and rejoin their families, sabotaging their efforts to become productive members of the community. Instead of wasting millions of dollars on a failed and bloated registry, Michigan should invest in prevention and support for survivors. The governor should veto this legislation and demand that the legislature do its job and work with experts and stakeholders to draft a law that is constitutional, evidence-based and provides true public safety.”

For background on how this legislation is a detriment to public safety, read the ACLU’s opinion piece published in the Detroit Free Press on Dec. 10:

For background on Michigan’s registry and the judicial rulings that it is unconstitutional:

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