With the increased use of databases and the gain in popularity of the internet in the past 25 years, it has been possible for information to be distributed fast. While this can be a powerful and positive tool in many ways, it also has facilitated illegal activity. In addition, it has helped to make possible legal regulations that many have viewed as controversial.
After the tragic death of 7-year-old Megan Kanka in 1994, there was a public outcry, and many questions were raised in regard to how such a horrific event could be prevented in the future. Within two years, there was an amendment to the Wetterling Act, which was enacted with the purpose of requiring all states to keep registries of convicted sex offenders, and keep track of their addresses after their jail time. In this amendment, an additional requirement was added, requiring all states to make public notifications about the registered sex offenders that live in the area. This is now known as Megan's Law.
How does the registry of sex offenders work in Michigan?
Each state varies very broadly when it comes to the way that they share and store information about sex offenders. However, all states make sure that the information is centralized in one database. The information stored will be the name and the address of the offender, date of birth, social security information, photograph, physical description and fingerprints.
There may also be information stored about the severity of the charges, and the year that the offense was carried out. In the state of Michigan, there has been some recent controversy in relation to the way that convicted sex offenders are treated under the law. This issue was taken to the Supreme Court in late 2017.
Do these laws affect sex offender's constitutional rights?
The invasion of privacy and publicity that these registries create has been widely controversial. It has been claimed that there is too little done in order to protect the offender from abuse in their community. There have been claims that the laws affect offenders' constitutional rights. However, in 2003, the Supreme Court ruled that this was not the case.
Understanding the laws in place relating to sex offenses in Michigan is essential if you have been accused of a sex crime.