In late December 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that lifetime sex offender registration for juvenile offenders was unconstitutional because it violated the due process rights of juveniles. Lifetime sex offender registration on a private registry is currently a part of Michigan law for juveniles who are 14-16 years old and convicted of a Tier III offense.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court made a finding that lifetime registry for juveniles characterized an "irrefutable presumption" that a juvenile would reoffend in the future. Justice Max Baer stated the registration requirements of the law "improperly brand all juvenile offenders’ reputations with an indelible mark of a dangerous recidivist, even though the irrefutable presumption linking adjudication of specified offenses with a high likelihood of recidivating is not 'universally true.’"
The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of Pennsylvania applied to juveniles 14 or older who committed serious sex offenses. Under this Act, the juveniles were required to appear on the registration for life. If fought, the registration period had a chance to be reduced to 25 years for juvenile offenders. Now, after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling, no juvenile can be required to register in the sex offender registry and any juvenile offender currently on the registry has to be removed.
Unfortunately, Michigan law still permits juveniles who are 14 or older to be required to register on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry if found guilty of a sex crime that falls into a Tier III category, like criminal sexual conduct involving a minor. A conviction of a Tier III crime requires lifetime registry. The Tier III offenses are listed in the Michigan Sex Offenders Registration Act. The current laws in Michigan do not allow a juvenile who is under the age of 14, or those found guilty of a Tier I or Tier II offense, to be put on the sex offender registry. The Tier III offenses require a juvenile defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act for life; however, the juvenile would be able to petition for removal after 25 years. Also, juveniles required to register will not be able to be seen on the public database, they would only be seen on databases accessible to law enforcement agencies.
If your child is facing charges or questioning by police regarding a sex crime, contact the Smith Blythe, PC to set up a consultation. Our defense attorneys are highly experienced in defending juveniles and adults accused of Michigan sex crimes. Our office's focus is predominately concentrated on the defense of sex crimes.