Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry law is so vague that parts of it are unconstitutional, including the requirement that offenders stay at least 1,000 feet from schools, a federal judge ruled, says the Detroit Free Press. U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland struck down several reporting requirements of the 1994 law, which has been amended several times to make requirements stricter. Regarding the 1,000-foot school safety zone, he said offenders are left to guess where the zones were and are not provided with enough information from the state to abide by the restriction.
The judge struck down several other requirements, including a mandate that offenders report in person new e-mail and instant messaging addresses and notify authorities of all telephone numbers “routinely used by the individual.” The vagueness of the law “leaves law enforcement without adequate guidance to enforce the law and leaves registrants of ordinary intelligence unable to determine when the reporting requirements are triggered,” Cleland wrote. The lawsuit was filed in 2012 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan against Gov. Rick Snyder and Michigan State Police Director Kriste Etue, on behalf of six Michigan residents who are convicted sex offenders required to register. The residents argued that the law, and its many amendments, are impossible to follow. Regarding the 1,000-foot rule, they said, “the zones are not physically marked and registrants are not provided with maps demarking the boundaries.”