University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
view search results
page permalink
Case Name Does v. Snyder CJ-MI-0004
Docket / Court 2:12-cv-11194 ( E.D. Mich. )
State/Territory Michigan
Case Type(s) Criminal Justice (Other)
Attorney Organization ACLU of Michigan
Michigan Clinical Law Program
Case Summary
On March 6, 2012, a group of individuals convicted of sexual offenses prior to 2011 filed this lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the Governor of Michigan and the director of the Michigan State Police. The plaintiffs alleged that Michigan's 2011 Sex Offender ... read more >
On March 6, 2012, a group of individuals convicted of sexual offenses prior to 2011 filed this lawsuit in the Eastern District of Michigan. The plaintiffs sued the Governor of Michigan and the director of the Michigan State Police. The plaintiffs alleged that Michigan's 2011 Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) could not be applied to them retroactively. Under SORA, one of the plaintiffs was required to register as a sex offender even though he was not originally convicted of a sex offense. Another plaintiff was required to register on a public registry even though he was promised privacy in his plea agreement. And two of the plaintiffs were required to remain on a public registry for life instead of 25 years. Represented by the ACLU of Michigan, Michigan Clinical Law Program, and private counsel, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief barring SORA's retroactive application. The plaintiffs claimed that SORA violated the prohibition on ex post facto laws, interfered with their fundamental rights to work, travel, speak, and raise their children without being narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest, violated the Due Process Clause, and was void for being too vague. The case was assigned to Judge Robert H. Cleland and referred to Magistrate Judge David R. Grand.

On April 24, 2012, the defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. Nearly a year later, on March 18, 2013, the defendants’ motion was granted in part and denied in part. The court granted the defendants’ motion on the ex post facto claim, finding that SORA was a regulatory action and not a criminal statute. The court also granted the defendants’ motion on the claims that SORA interfered with the plaintiffs’ rights to travel and work. The court concluded that the extra procedures imposed by SORA, such as reporting temporary residences or prohibiting loitering in a school zone, did not significantly burden the plaintiffs’ ability to travel interstate or intrastate. Similarly, the court found that SORA did not bar the plaintiffs from electing a particular career. The Act’s only restriction on employment regarded working in a school zone, and the court found that provision to be narrowly tailored to serve the legitimate interests of the State. The court also granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss for claims that applying SORA retroactively was unconstitutional for the plaintiff who were originally convicted of a non-sexual offense and the plaintiff who was offered a plea agreement that stipulated they would not have to register on a public registry. Applying SORA retroactively to these plaintiffs had a legitimate legislative purpose.

However, the court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claim that SORA interfered with the plaintiffs’ rights to raise their children. The court found that the prohibition against any loitering in a school zone may have impeded on the plaintiffs’ ability to raise their children and participate in their education. The court also denied the motion to dismiss the claims from plaintiffs whose registration period on a public registry was extended from twenty-five years to life. The court denied the motion since it was unclear from the complaint whether the defendants had a rational legislative purpose for requiring lifetime registration. The court denied the motion to dismiss claims as to SORA’s vagueness, which had made it impossible for the plaintiffs to comply with its reporting requirements. The court found that additional information was needed to determine if SORA was specific enough for the plaintiffs to understand the requirements imposed on them. The court similarly denied the motion to dismiss the plaintiffs’ First Amendment claim. The court found that additional information was needed to conclude whether SORA’s requirements that the plaintiffs provide all online usernames chilled the plaintiffs’ right to free speech. 932 F.Supp.2d 803.

Discovery continued for the next year. On February 20, 2014, the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment. Less than two weeks later, the defendants also moved for summary judgment. Both motions were denied on May 1, 2014. The court instead ordered the parties to cooperate and produce one stipulated factual record, to notify the court of any disputed material facts, and to each file a Motion for Judgment.

On March 31, 2015, the court granted in part and denied in part the plaintiffs’ June 27, 2014 Motion for Judgment and the defendants’ July 9, 2014 Motion for Judgment. The court held the plaintiffs’ claims that certain aspects of SORA were too vague were valid, since the plaintiffs had curtailed their conduct as a result of the statute's uncertainty. Specifically, the court held that geographic exclusion zones proscribing where registrants could stand were unconstitutional since they were too vague to inform registrants and law enforcement was constituted a violation. Similarly, requirements that registrants report their telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, instant message addresses, and vehicle registration were too vague to provide registrants or law enforcement with necessary guidelines for what acts triggered a reporting requirement. The court reserved ruling on the plaintiffs’ remaining claims. 101 F.Supp.3d 672.

On June 5, 2015, the defendants appealed the district court’s initial ruling to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

On September 3, 2015, the district court ruled on the plaintiffs’ remaining claims. The court held that SORA could not retroactively extend the plaintiffs’ reporting requirements from twenty-five years to life. The court found that the defendants did not show that this extension was narrowly tailored to public safety because there was no evidence that sex offenders who had not re-offended in twenty-five years were at an increased risk of committing a different sex offense. 101 F.Supp.3d 722.

On October 26, 2015 the plaintiffs appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The defendants filed another appeal on November 20, 2015.

On August 25, 2016, the Sixth Circuit ruled on the appeals. The Sixth Circuit unanimously found that SORA imposed a punishment on the plaintiffs and therefore was an Ex Post Facto law. As a result, retroactive application of SORA was unconstitutional. The case was remanded to the district court to enter judgment consistent with the Sixth Circuit’s opinion. 834 F.3d 696.

The defendants appealed the Sixth Circuit’s holding to the U.S. Supreme Court on December 14, 2016.

The parties entered into a stipulated order on April 3, 2017 granting interim injunctive relief pending resolution of the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The parties agreed that the plaintiffs would not be listed on a public registry, the defendants would not enforce any of SORAs’ provisions that became effective since 2006 against the plaintiffs, and the plaintiffs’ registration periods would run for 25 years instead of life.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the defendant's petition for certiorari on October 2, 2017.

The parties reopened the case in the district court the following month. The defendants moved for judgment on December 4, 2017. The defendants contended that the Sixth Circuit’s decision only affected the plaintiffs in this case and did not apply to SORA itself.

On January 26, 2018, the district court issued a stipulated final judgment on remand. The court held that retroactive application of SORA’s 2006 and 2011 amendments violated the Ex Post Facto Clause. Therefore, the defendants and any other individual were enjoined from enforcing the 2006 and 2011 SORA amendments against the plaintiffs. The court further held that the plaintiffs would not be listed on a public registry and the only requirements of SORA that applied to them were to verify their address quarterly, provide fingerprints, and pay annual fees. Further, their registration period was amended to 25 years instead of life.

This case is now closed.

Craig Streit - 10/21/2016
Hannah Greenhouse - 03/10/2019


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Ex Post Facto
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
General
Sex offender regulation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Michigan State Police
State of Michigan
Plaintiff Description Michigan residents who have been retroactively required to comply with Michigan's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) as amended on July 1, 2011. These plaintiffs were all charged or convicted before the amended SORA came into effect.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU of Michigan
Michigan Clinical Law Program
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Declaratory Judgment
Source of Relief Litigation
Filing Year 2012
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  Sex Offender Registration After Does v. Snyder
State Appellate Defender Officeand Criminal Defense Resource Center
Date: Oct. 2016
By: Miriam Aukerman and Paul Reingold (ACLU and Michigan Clinical Law Program Faculty)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
2:12-cv-11194 (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/17/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
CJ-MI-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits to Complaint [ECF# 1-1]
CJ-MI-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/16/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Motion to Dismiss and Defendants Amended Brief in Support of Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 14]
CJ-MI-0004-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/24/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiff's Brief Opposing Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 21]
CJ-MI-0004-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/25/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Exhibits to Plaintiff's Brief Opposing Defendants' Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 21-1]
CJ-MI-0004-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/25/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Defendants' Reply Brief [ECF# 24]
CJ-MI-0004-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Amended Motion to Dismiss [ECF# 27] (932 F.Supp.2d 803) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/18/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 46]
CJ-MI-0004-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/02/2013
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order Resolving Motions for Judgment (101 F.Supp.3d 672) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 03/31/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion and Order Denying Defendants' Motion in Limine (2015 WL 1497834) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/31/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion and Order Resolving Motions for Judgment [ECF# 103] (2015 WL 1497852) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0008.pdf | WESTLAW | External Link | Detail
Date: 03/31/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Motion Hearing (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0012.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Opinion and Order Resolving Outstanding Issues Raised in Plaintiffs' and Defendants' Motions for Judgment (101 F.Supp.3d 722) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/03/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
Final Judgment (2015 WL 6436804) (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 10/21/2015
Source: Bloomberg Law
USCA Opinion Reversing District Court Decision (834 F.3d 696)
CJ-MI-0004-0018.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/25/2016
Source: Westlaw
6th Circuit Opinion [Ct. of App. ECF# 129] (2016 U.S.App.LEXIS 15669)
CJ-MI-0004-0015.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/25/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Granting Interim Injunctive Relief on Remand [ECF# 138] (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0016.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Final Judgment on Remand in Plaintiffs' Favor [ECF# 153] (E.D. Mich.)
CJ-MI-0004-0017.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/26/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Batchelder, Alice Moore (N.D. Ohio, Sixth Circuit) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0015 | CJ-MI-0004-0018
Cleland, Robert Hardy (E.D. Mich.) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0007 | CJ-MI-0004-0008 | CJ-MI-0004-0010 | CJ-MI-0004-0011 | CJ-MI-0004-0012 | CJ-MI-0004-0013 | CJ-MI-0004-0014 | CJ-MI-0004-0016 | CJ-MI-0004-0017 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Grand, David R. (E.D. Mich.) [Magistrate] show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Allen, Marc S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-9000
Aukerman, Miriam (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0001 | CJ-MI-0004-0004 | CJ-MI-0004-0009 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Moss, Kary L. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0001 | CJ-MI-0004-0004 | CJ-MI-0004-0009
Nelson, Sofia V (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-9000
Reingold, Paul (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0001 | CJ-MI-0004-0004 | CJ-MI-0004-0009 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Steinberg, Michael J. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0001 | CJ-MI-0004-0004 | CJ-MI-0004-0009 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Swor, William W. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0001 | CJ-MI-0004-0004 | CJ-MI-0004-0009 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Grill, Erik A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-9000
Nelson, Margaret A. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-0003 | CJ-MI-0004-0006 | CJ-MI-0004-9000
Sadowski, Adam P. (Michigan) show/hide docs
CJ-MI-0004-9000

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
view search results
page permalink

- top of page -