Many people believe that Michigan’s sex offender registry laws are far too broad. In fact, Michigan has the fourth largest per capita number of people on its registry.
Sex offender registry laws in Michigan apply to a variety of crimes ranging from brutal assault to sexual contact between teenagers and certain kidnapping charges that do not involve any form of sexual contact. In addition to being listed on the registry, offenders must also appear in person to update information whenever they purchase a new vehicle or acquire a new email or messaging account.
Under current state laws, convicted sex offenders in Michigan are not allowed to live, work or loiter within 1000 feet of a school. These laws have long been argued as being ineffective and going far beyond simply protecting the public.
Removing Your Name From Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry
Fortunately, it is possible to have your name removed from Michigan’s sex offender registry. The Sex Offender Registry Act (SORA), Public Act of 2011, has made it possible for certain sex offenders in Michigan to petition to have their name removed from the registry after a period of ten years. Individuals that qualify for removal include those that meet the “Romeo and Juliet” exception as well as juvenile offenders that were convicted when they were less than 14 years of age if the conviction occurred before July 1st, 2011.
The SORA Tier System
SORA laws separate sex offenders into three tiers. Each tier determines the type of registration required as well as an individual’s eligibility for removal from the registry.
Tier I offenses are the least serious. Tier I offenders must register on a non-public list for 15 years with the opportunity to petition for removal after 10. Non-public sex offender registries are only available to law enforcement officials. Tier II offenders must register on the public sex offender registry for 25 years, while Tier III offenders are required to register on the public registry for life. The public sex offender registry lists the names and addresses of sex offenders, and is available to anyone searching a specific geographic region.
Not everyone is available for a removal or reduction in the time required to register. The following are the four ways in which an individual can petition the courts for a removal or reduction.
1. Removal in “Romeo and Juliet” consensual cases
2. Reduction in length of registration for Tier I and Tier III offenses
3. Removal of juvenile adjudications
4. Removal for individuals convicted of crimes no longer listed as offenses
Statutory Rape “Romeo and Juliet” Cases
The legal age for consent in Michigan is 16 years old. If one or both parties are under 16 when they participate in a sexual act, the older party can be convicted as a sex offender even if the sex was consensual. The new SORA laws allow convicted sex offenders to petition to be removed from the registry for life as long as the “victim” consented to the sex act and was no younger than 13 years old, and the “offender” was no more than 4 years older than the “victim”.
Tier III Reductions
Tier III offenders who were minors at the time of their offense might be able to petition for a removal from the registry 25 years after the date of conviction. In order to be eligible for a removal or reduction of time on the registry, the individual must prove that they are no longer a threat to the general public. It’s important to note that adult offenders and Tier II offenders are not eligible for removal or reduction.
The petition and hearing process is extremely complex, and you only get one chance to clear your name. It’s important to have an experienced lawyer on your side. The attorneys at Nessel and Kessel Law have many years of experience dealing with sex crimes. Please contact us to learn how we can help.
Last week, in the 36th District Court, criminal defense attorneys Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel secured a major victory for their client. Charges of armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm, were all dismissed against our client. The charges were brought as a result of an altercation where 5 people were present; the complaining witness and the 4 defendants. The complaining witness claimed that he went to the home of one of the defendants, where all 4 men (including our client) were present. According to the testimony, the 4 men asked the complaining witness about some money the men believed the man owed them. Then, the conversation turned violent as three of he men engaged in a fight with the complaining witness. The key was that there was never any testimony that our client was involved in the physical fight. Eventually the men separated, at which point our client had a conversation with the complaining witness about the money he believed he was owed. However, at that point, one of the other three men pulled a gun and began shooting into the air.
All four men were charged with armed robbery, felonious assault, and felony firearm. At the preliminary exam, the attorney for the other defendants focused their attention primarily on the actions of the complaining witness. However, Dana Nessel and Chris Kessel had a different strategy; focusing on the actions of their client. Through extensive cross-examination of the complaining witness, Dana Nessel was able to establish that our client took no part in the actual fight, nor did he attempt to take any money from the complaining witness.
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After Re-Trial Defendant Found Not Guilty.
After less than a day of deliberation, a jury returned a “not guilty” verdict for the client of criminal defense attorney, Chris Kessel. The client was charged with one count of CSC – 1st under 13; meaning that the alleged victim was under the age of 13 at the time of the alleged assault. It was alleged that the client had woken up his 11 year old niece in the middle of the night, took her into his bedroom, and raped her. The was based almost exclusively upon the testimony of the complaining witness, who made the allegations.
The case had actually already been tried once, with the jury unable to reach a verdict. At the end of the previous trial the jury was deadlocked at 11-1, for guilty. After the prosecutor’s office decided to re-try the case, the family of the client reached out to Chris Kessel to ask him to represent the client. The trial lasted three days, during which Chris Kessel carefully and meticulously took apart the complaining witness’s story; piece by piece. The girl had told a number of differing versions of the event, each differing from the other. Some of the differences were significant, while others were more minor. However, after cross-examination, it was clear that the young girl was not being truthful. In fact, when confronted with one of the version of the story, even she was forced to admit that what she had previously stated “didn’t make any sense.”
Even with the multiple holes in her story, the prosecution argued that because the client had previously been convicted of a CSC – 1 under 13, he was predisposed to this kind of activity. Thankfully, Chris Kessel was able to tease out testimony from the complaining witness’s sister that both of them knew that the client had been convicted of this crime over 20 years ago…making him an easy target for the lie.
Cross-examining a 12 year old girl about an alleged rape is not something you learn over night. It is something you learn with countless hours of study and experience. Criminal Sexual Conduct cases are not cases that just any attorney can handle. It takes an experienced criminal defense attorney, who knows what buttons to push and when to push them, to successfully defend against this type of charge.
If you or a family member has been charged with allegations of criminal sexual conduct, contact Nessel and Kessel Law today.
Home Invasion Attorney Gets 20 Year Felony Dismissed
This week, in the Wayne County Circuit Court, Detroit defense attorney Chris Kessel of Nessel & Kessel Law achieved another significant legal victory. Our client was charged with Home Invasion – First Degree, Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile (UDAA), and misdemeanor Domestic Violence. The Home Invasion charge carries a maximum 20 year prison sentence, while the Unlawfully Driving Away an Automobile carries a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison. Generally, when a defendant is sentenced on two or more crimes at the same time, the sentences will run “concurrent”; meaning that both sentences will be run at the same time. However, because of the state of the law in Michigan, if a defendant is convicted of Home Invasion and another crime, the sentences will run consecutive; meaning a defendant will have to serve their sentence on the Home Invasion THEN serve their sentence on the other crime.
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Plymouth criminal defense attorney, Dana Nessel, gets charged thrown out.
After multiple hearings Dana Nessel, of Nessel and Kessel Law, successfully persuaded the attorney representing the City of Plymouth to dismiss a case against our client. Ms. Nessel, a well respected criminal defense attorney in the Plymouth, looks forward to filing a civil suit alleging police misconduct in the near future. The case stems from charges of resisting and obstructing out of the 35th District Court.
Our client had been charged with Resisting, Obstructing, Assaulting a Police Officer, in connection with traffic stop. Our client, who was the passenger of the stopped vehicle, was asked by an Plymouth officer to provide a driver’s license. The client refused, however he did give his full name to the officer. The officer then decided that wasn’t enough and told the client that he was going to be placed under arrest unless he provided his license, which our client still refused to do. The officer then used physical force against our client by slamming him to the ground and kneeing him in the back. During the entire incident the client – as captured on video – was yelling “I’m not resisting!” Our client was left with abrasions and contusions on his face, arms, and chest.
According the Municipal Code for the City of Plymouth it is not a crime to refuse to provide a driver’s license to a police officer, so long as you accurately identify yourself. During an evidentiary hearing Dana Nessel forced the officer to admit that he was fully aware that failing to provide identification was not an arrestable offense in the City of Plymouth. This admission supported our claim that the arrest was an illegal one. That fact, coupled with a recent development in Michigan case law which allows for the resisting of an illegal arrest, allowed Ms. Nessel to pressure the prosecutor into dismissing his case.
Our client has been cleared of ALL CHARGES.