Doe v. Snyder, Case No. 12–11194.

CourtUnited States District Courts. 6th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Michigan)
Writing for the CourtROBERT H. CLELAND, District Judge.
Citation101 F.Supp.3d 672
Decision Date31 March 2015
Docket NumberCase No. 12–11194.
PartiesJohn DOES # 1–5 and Mary Doe, Plaintiffs, v. Richard SNYDER and Col. Kriste Etue, Defendants.

101 F.Supp.3d 672

John DOES # 1–5 and Mary Doe, Plaintiffs,
v.

Richard SNYDER and Col. Kriste Etue, Defendants.

Case No. 12–11194.

United States District Court,E.D. Michigan,Southern Division.

Signed March 31, 2015.


101 F.Supp.3d 677

Douglas R. Mullkoff, Kessler & Mullkoff, Paul D. Reingold, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, Michael J. Steinberg, Sofia V. Nelson, American Civil Liberties Union Fund of Michigan, William W. Swor, Detroit, MI, Miriam J. Aukerman, American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI, for Plaintiffs.

Erik A. Grill, Michigan Department of Attorney General, Lansing, MI, for Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER RESOLVING MOTIONS FOR JUDGMENT

ROBERT H. CLELAND, District Judge.

Plaintiffs John Does # 1–5 and Mary Doe bring the instant action against Governor Richard Snyder and Director of the Michigan State Police Colonel Kriste Etue, named in their official capacities, challenging Michigan's Sex Offenders Registration Act (“SORA”), as amended in 2011 and 2013. Both parties have filed Rule 52 motions for judgment on the stipulated facts and records submitted by the parties. (See Dkt. 90–95). Plaintiffs seek a declaratory judgment and permanent injunction, and ask the court to grant judgment in their favor on Counts IV, V, VI, VII, and IX of their First Amended Complaint. (Dkt. # 96, 5669–70.) Defendants move the court to find Plaintiffs' challenges without merit and grant judgment in their favor. (Dkt. # 97, Pg. ID 5721.) The parties have willingly waived their right to a full trial in their Rule 52 motions and have stipulated that the court may enter judgment based on the record submitted by the parties. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiffs' motion will be granted in part and denied in part and Defendants' motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Statutory History

Michigan enacted SORA in 1994. 1994 Mich. Pub. Acts 295. The 1994 Act established a confidential database containing information about sex offenders that was available only to law enforcement. 94 Mich. Pub. Acts 295, § 10. SORA has been amended numerous times. See 1996 Mich. Pub. Acts 494; 1999 Mich. Pub. Acts 85; 2002 Mich. Pub. Acts 542; 2004 Mich. Pub. Acts 238, 239, 240; 2005 Mich. Pub. Acts 121, 127, 132; 2006 Mich. Pub. Acts 46; 2011 Mich. Pub. Acts 17, 18; 2013 Mich. Pub. Acts 149. As of April 1997, SORA requires law enforcement agencies to make certain registration information available for public inspection, 1996 Mich. Pub. Acts 494, § 10(2), and following the 1999 amendments to SORA, registry information became available through the Internet. See 1999 Mich. Pub. Acts 85, §§ 8(2), 10(2), and 10(3). The amendments between 2002 and 2006, inter alia, increased reporting requirements for registrants; introduced a one-time registration fee; removed the registration requirement for certain individuals assigned to youthful trainee status; prohibited registrants from working, residing, or loitering within 1,000 feet of a school; and created a program whereby members of the public could be notified electronically when a sex offender moved into a particular zip code. See generally 2002 Mich. Pub. Acts 542; 2004 Mich. Pub. Acts 238, 239, 240; 2005 Mich. Pub. Acts 121, 127, 132; 2006 Mich. Pub. Acts 46.

The 2011 amendments significantly altered SORA to comply with the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”), 42 U.S.C. § 16901 et seq. In its current form, SORA categorizes registrants into three tiers which determine the length of time that individuals must register and the frequency with which they

101 F.Supp.3d 678

must report. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.722(r)–(w); 28.725(10)–(13). Tier classifications are based solely on a registrant's offense and do not factor in an individualized determination of risk. Tier I offenders must register and comply with SORA obligations for fifteen years; Tier II offenders must register and comply with SORA obligations for twenty-five years; and Tier III offenders must register and comply with SORA for life. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 28.725(10)–(13). The most recent amendments became effective while this case was pending and now require registrants to pay a pay a $50 annual registration fee. 2013 Mich. Pub. Acts 149.

B. Plaintiffs

All six Plaintiffs are Michigan residents who are Tier III offenders and thus required by law to register as sex offenders and comply with SORA for life. (Dkt. # 90, Pg. ID 3729.) Following are brief descriptions of Plaintiffs and their offenses.

In 1990, after losing his job at McDonald's, Doe # 1 attempted to rob his former employer. (Id. at 3737.) During the robbery, Doe # 1 forced the McDonald's manager and her fourteen-year-old son into the restaurant; when the manager did not open up the safe, Doe # 1 struck the manager and kicked her son. (Id.) The manager and her son were able to escape. (Id.) Doe # 1 was charged with eleven felony counts. He pleaded no contest to kidnapping (for holding the fourteen-year-old child against his will) and pleaded guilty to the other charges, including armed robbery. (Id.) In 1991, Doe # 1 was sentenced to twenty-two to forty years in prison. (Id. at 3738.) He was paroled in November 2009 and completed his parole in November 2011. (Id. at 3739.) Although Doe # 1's criminal offense lacked an overtly sexual component, under the 2011 amendments to SORA, he is classified as a Tier III offender and is required to comply with SORA for life because he was convicted of kidnapping a minor. (Id.) He has two adult children and one toddler, and he co-parents his fiancée's teenage daughter. (Id.)

Doe # 2 pleaded guilty under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act (“HYTA”), Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.520d(1)(a), to criminal sexual conduct III after having a sexual relationship with his fourteen-year-old “girlfriend” in 1996 when he was eighteen years old. (Id. at 3741.) His plea was based on the prosecutor's promise that his records would be sealed. (Id. at 3743.) Under the HYTA, Doe # 2 was assigned the status of “youthful trainee” and sentenced to two years probation. (Id. at 3742.) After completing his probation, his case was dismissed without conviction being entered pursuant to Mich. Comp. Laws § 762.14(1). Designation as a “youthful trainee” is included in the definition of “convicted” under SORA, Mich. Comp. Laws § 28.722(b). Doe # 2 is classified as a Tier III offender and must therefore comply with SORA for life. (Id. at 4745.) Doe # 2 currently has a teenage daughter. The daughter's mother has full custody, and Doe # 2 has weekend visitation rights. (Id. at 3747.)

In 1998, at the age of nineteen, Doe # 3 had a sexual relationship with a fourteen year old. (Id. at 3748.) Doe # 3 pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to four years of probation under the HYTA. (Id. at 3750.) During his last year on probation, Doe # 3 failed to timely register under SORA. (Id. at 3751.) His HYTA status was revoked, and a conviction was entered. (Id.) Doe # 3 has a nine-year-old son, a six-year-old son, and an infant son. (Id.) He was originally required to register for a period of twenty-five years on a non-public registry,

101 F.Supp.3d 679

but was reclassified as a Tier III offender in 2011. (Id. at 3750, 3752.)

Doe # 4 pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sexual conduct III in 2006 after having a sexual relationship with a female under the age of sixteen, who he met in a nightclub restricted to those aged eighteen years and older. (Id. at 3752–53.) He was twenty three years old at the time. (Id. at 2752.) Doe # 4 was sentenced to five years probation, which he completed. (Id. at 3753.) He is currently involved in a romantic relationship with his victim, who is now over eighteen years old. They have a seven-year-old daughter and an infant child, and Doe # 4 has two other children as well. (Id. at 3754.) In 2011, Doe # 4 was classified as a Tier III offender, extending his period of registration from twenty-five years to life. (Id.)

Doe # 5 was added to this action by a stipulated order entered on August 27, 2013. (Dkt.# 34.) In 1980, he was convicted of criminal sexual conduct III and sentenced to two to fifteen years of imprisonment. (Dkt. # 90, Pg. ID 3757.) At the time of the conduct, Doe # 5 was twenty one years old and the victim was seventeen years old. (Id.) The victim testified at trial that the sexual conduct was nonconsensual, and Doe # 5 and his sister testified that it was consensual. (Id.) Doe # 5 served approximately twenty-one months of his sentence. (Id.) He was not required to register as a sex offender until 2011 after he pleaded guilty to larceny pursuant to SORA's “recapture” provisions, added by the 2011 amendments, which require registration for eligible recidivists who are convicted of any additional felony after July 2011. See Mich. Comp. Laws § 28.724(5). (Dkt. # 90, Pg. ID 375.) Doe # 5 did not timely register and was therefore cited for a probation violation and jailed for ninety days. (Id. at 3759.) He has children and grandchildren. (Id. at 3761)

Ms. Doe was convicted in Ohio of one count of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in 2003 for having a sexual relationship with a fifteen-year-old male when she was twenty-nine years old. (Id. at 3761–62.) She was sentenced to three years in prison, but was granted judicial release after serving less than eight months of her sentence. (Id. at 3763–65.) Ms. Doe was assigned to the lowest risk level of Ohio's sex offender registry, which required address verification once a year for ten years. (Id. at 3763–64.) She moved to Michigan in 2004 after her judicial release. She was initially required to register quarterly for twenty-five years, but was reclassified as a Tier III offender in 2011. (Id. at 3765–66.) Ms. Doe has a teenage daughter, step-children, and three grandchildren under the age of ten, and she is expecting another grandchild. (Id.)

C. The Constitutional Challenges

Plaintiffs claim that the retroactive nature of...

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27 practice notes
  • McGuire v. Marshall, CASE NO. 2:19-CV-174-WKW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • January 7, 2021
    ...database, registrants can only guess at whether their place of employment falls within a zone of exclusion. See Doe v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672, 683 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (striking down geographic exclusion zones in part because "Michigan has not provided registrants with a map of exclusion......
  • Whatley v. Zatecky, No. 14–2534
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 15, 2016
    ...two federal courts have concluded that the term “regular” by itself is too vague to pass constitutional muster. Does # 1–5 v. Snyder , 101 F.Supp.3d 672, 687–88 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (the word “regularly” both fails to provide fair notice of the conduct proscribed and is imprecise enough to inv......
  • Doe v. Rausch, No. 3:17-CV-504 REEVES/GUYTON
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Eastern District of Tennessee
    • May 14, 2020
    ...(citation omitted). Accordingly, the protection of anonymous speech under the First Amendment extends to the internet. Doe v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672, 701 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (citations omitted); see also Reno v. ACLU , 521 U.S. 844, 870, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 138 L.Ed.2d 874 (1997) (explainin......
  • People v. Betts, Docket No. 148981
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 27, 2021
    ..., 507 Mich. 527, 968 N.W.2d 497 (2021).9 See Does 1-4 v. Snyder , 932 F. Supp. 2d 803 (E.D. Mich., 2013) ; Does # 1-5 v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672 (E.D. Mich., 2015) ; Doe #1-5 v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 722 (E.D. Mich., 2015).10 The district court originally entered a stipulated order ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
27 cases
  • McGuire v. Marshall, CASE NO. 2:19-CV-174-WKW
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 11th Circuit. Middle District of Alabama
    • January 7, 2021
    ...database, registrants can only guess at whether their place of employment falls within a zone of exclusion. See Doe v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672, 683 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (striking down geographic exclusion zones in part because "Michigan has not provided registrants with a map of exclusion......
  • Whatley v. Zatecky, No. 14–2534
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • August 15, 2016
    ...two federal courts have concluded that the term “regular” by itself is too vague to pass constitutional muster. Does # 1–5 v. Snyder , 101 F.Supp.3d 672, 687–88 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (the word “regularly” both fails to provide fair notice of the conduct proscribed and is imprecise enough to inv......
  • Doe v. Rausch, No. 3:17-CV-504 REEVES/GUYTON
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 6th Circuit. Eastern District of Tennessee
    • May 14, 2020
    ...(citation omitted). Accordingly, the protection of anonymous speech under the First Amendment extends to the internet. Doe v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672, 701 (E.D. Mich. 2015) (citations omitted); see also Reno v. ACLU , 521 U.S. 844, 870, 117 S.Ct. 2329, 138 L.Ed.2d 874 (1997) (explainin......
  • People v. Betts, Docket No. 148981
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Michigan
    • July 27, 2021
    ..., 507 Mich. 527, 968 N.W.2d 497 (2021).9 See Does 1-4 v. Snyder , 932 F. Supp. 2d 803 (E.D. Mich., 2013) ; Does # 1-5 v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 672 (E.D. Mich., 2015) ; Doe #1-5 v. Snyder , 101 F. Supp. 3d 722 (E.D. Mich., 2015).10 The district court originally entered a stipulated order ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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