In the mid-1990s, a number of very dramatic pieces of federal legislation, concerning sex offenders, was enacted into law. The first was the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sex Offender Act. This law mandated that each state in the nation create a sex offender registry. The next major piece of sex crimes legislation was Megan's Law. Megan's Law required states to make the information on those sex offender registries mandated by the Jacob Wetterling Act available to the general public.
While Michigan residents may have differing opinions about sex offender registration, it is difficult to deny that sex offender registration creates a stigma, and, worse yet, for many it is a life sentence. It is also why the state has only required public data in Tier II and Tier III offenders. Michigan legislators, however, are now attempting to pass a piece of legislation that will place Tier I residents on Michigan's public online sex offender registry as well.
According to the new legislation, which has already passed the Michigan state house, the law would expand the states sex offender registry to include crimes such as possession of child pornography. While possession of child pornography constitutes a sex crime, offenders are currently not named on the public databases. Further, the new offenses can involve a single sex crime. The new law could have devastating consequences to hundreds of people.
Individuals facing sex crime charges in Michigan face harsh penalties, including prison time, invasive probation terms and financial compensation. However, the additional burden of having to register in a public database as a sex offender is often the most burdensome of all. With the possibility of an extended database, there are even more reasons for those accused of sex crimes to launch a strong criminal defense today.
Source: Michigan Live, "Michigan's sex offender registry would put more crimes involving minors online under advanced legislation," Tim Martin, Feb. 19, 2013