Michigan's 8-year-old sex offender registry is legal, says the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Detroit News reports. Reversing a lower court ruling that said the registry stigmatizes those on the list, a unanimous three-judge panel said yesterday that damage to a person's reputation is not a good enough reason to strike down Michigan's law.
The Michigan State Police began collecting names of all sex offenders convicted after Oct. 1, 1995. Those on the list–nearly 34,000–range from rapists and pornographers to child molesters and kidnappers. Names remain on the list for 25 years. The suit against the registry was filed by Daniel Fullmer, a former prison guard who was convicted of having sex with an inmate in 1999. Fullmer argued he should not have been on the list because he did not represent a danger to the public.
The appeals judges disagreed. “The information on the registry's Web site makes it clear to anyone accessing the registry that all sex offenders convicted after a certain date are listed, without exception,” they said. “Moreover, there is nothing on the Web site to indicate that the state has made an individual determination as to a registrant's dangerousness.”
Michigan’s Attorney General applauded the ruling, but a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, said the law ” umps together the college kid who uses poor judgment and urinates in public along with sexual predators who are truly dangerous to the community.”
The online registry site receives an average 5,500 hits each day.