Registration is meant to be a lifetime punishment

By T . . .

The bottom line of my story –I was convicted (plead guilty) of Criminal Sexual Conduct of the 4th degree (attempted) back in 1998 in the state of Michigan. My registration was meant to be a 25 year registration from the start. I was later classed as tier 2, still 25 registration. The events in the story happened when I was 19 years old.

The story behind my conviction.When I was 19 years of age I was discharged from the US Army Reserve due to not completing HS on time. I was enlisted as a split op trainee. This mean I went to Basic before I completed my senior year of HS.

During this time I was extremely active on AOL. I was into flirting and everything else that went with being a teenager. One day I got message by a random girl who liked the fact that I was an army guy. I had listed in my profile at the time I wanted to get back in.

The message came from a 13 year old girl. She introduced herself and said she really liked army guys and wanted to get to know me. So over the course of about 2 weeks we talked and she decided she wanted to meet me.

At first I panicked, and tried to say no. But the argument that followed ended up with her saying nobody ever loved her and that she should just end her life. After hearing this, me and one other person tried to call her on her home phone. Her parents answered and said she was unavailable.

Well the 2 phone calls her parents got kinda weirded them out. It was by 2 separate guys. A week or 2 later her and I met in the middle of the night. “We did not have sex”. I gave her some personal items along with one set of my dog tags (worst mistake ever). Another week later her mother found what I gave her and called the police. The intent was to scare me with police. Well it went further than that.

I got a call by the Michigan State Police about the warrant. Got processed, booked, then released pending a trial that would happen over a year and a half later.

My initial charge was a felony, but it was reduced to the above, and my court appointed attorney advised me to take it. This was after he informed me the whole office had seen the evidence about me, and were making wise-cracks and jokes at my expense. Thank you Mr. Hess.

The after-mathI got a sentence of 30 days in the county jail, spent 23 and got out on good behavior. I kept my head down and told the other inmates I was in for fighting. This was another mistake, but one I survived. Another guy was in there for molestation, and the other inmates wanted to jump him.

I spent my 21st birthday behind bars. I was told I’d have to register as a sex offender (didn’t know what I was in for). I was told I had to go to the court house to register, then redirected to the county clerk, then to the Sherriff’s Department. This was all around Bay City Michigan where I was convicted, over a 2 hour drive from home. Then to be told the registration had been completed automatically, and I would just have to show the next year at the police in my hometown. Gee, thanks! 6 hours wasted and they could have said this from the start.

Btw, not all cops are bad. The state trooper I surrendered too understood my situation. He simply stated my situation was BS, and that people pull stunts like this all the time to involve police and scare people. He offered to testify on my behalf if I needed it. Never thought a cop would do that.

During my time in Michigan, I had plenty of work; Labor, Warehouse, Pizza Delivery, Broadcasting, IT, went to college. All this trying to straighten up my life. I do have a second misdemeanor that came later, but was not sexual. My own stupid fault. I didn’t know it then, but this screwed my ability to get off the registry using expunging.

Since my first registration happened, companies have become more stringent in there background checks and now check registries. Thanks to Florida, no registry check is needed to see that I am on it. All you need do is google my name and there press release article with my picture is one of the first results. This was done 20 years after my initial registration and is permanently on the internet. Means that I can never escape the stigma even if released from the internet.

Every time a back ground check is done, I must face an adverse action due to the hit on the registry, which now comes back with 2 hits because I moved to Georgia. So one for Florida (who doesn’t remove anyone) and one from Georgia where I live. Can you imagine the average person that sees that, and what they think? 2 hits? 2 Convictions? Oh, and Georgia does not list my conviction correctly. They refuse to add the word misdemeanor which is part of the conviction sentence. So as Georgia does not register home misdemeanor’s, they do register out of state misdemeanor’s, giving everyone that sees your listing the impression you were convicted of a felony.

I’ve thought numerous times up to this point of simply just ending my life. I live with my parents. I’m turning 46 this year, and because I can’t escape the registry, or find a job, I have to live with mom and dad.

I actually had a company that I contracted for set to hire me. They suddenly without warning changed there mind. Got an email stating I they would not be moving forward with me as a candidate anymore. And this was after doing exemplary work for them and impressing everyone in there company. This is the part where you express “WTF”.

It is what it is. There is nothing I can do about it.

It’s when people become desperate that they become a real threat, because they have nothing to lose anymore. And that is exactly what is being done to sex offenders everywhere.

By the rules in the State of Michigan I was only required to register for 25 years. That term ends “this” November.

The catch all law in Georgia is this “per County Sherriff”. If you are required to register anywhere else, then you are required to register here. Because of my offense in Michigan, I am obviously required to register there until November. Because of my moving to Florida, I was required to register there. Because of both states I am required to register in Georgia. Florida will not release me. I can submit a request if Michigan sends me a relief, but it is up to the FDLE to decide ultimately if I can be released there. No automatic or guarantee of it per the registrar who processed me.

As per Georgia, they will not release me from the requirement unless I go before the judge in Bay City Michigan and request with approval relief from the requirement. It has been stated by my registrar that she will not accept any release form from the state of Michigan, or relief of requirement from the local court here in Georgia, which by the way goes against state law here.

The worst part of this, is not being able to work. When my parents pass away, which will happen at some point, I will be unable to support myself. I won’t even have a house to live in. (I have a sister who is money greedy. Do you really think I can keep my parents house through that?)

So, I am stressed to the max on the way things are.

2 thoughts on “Registration is meant to be a lifetime punishment

  1. T, consider that criminal registries such as these deny the right against self-incrimination. I would like to fight in this manner but have a family and can’t risk at the annual registration asserting my rights as you can on civil forms just as criminal matters as they say any failure they will arrest me even to assert my rights which would then lead to me having a state appointed attorney at the cost of being taken away from my family to fight the registry. Also, I lack the ability to fight in this manner federally as is needed lest another Pro Se case damage everyone’s ability to fight effectively in the future.

    See Albertson v. SACB, 382 U.S. 70 (1965) regarding the three part test that would defeat the sex offender registry facially or as applied as well as Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 (1969) and Haynes v. United States, 390 U.S. 85 (1968) which would defeat the registries as applied and facially in that they require reporting information that would be self-incrimination. Such as it is illegal in Idaho to reside within a certain distance of restricted locations but Idaho requires the reporting of all addresses, it is illegal to work at x location but places of work must be reported, etc. Not to mention all of the other information which could only be ever useful as evidentiary leads violating the right against self-incrimination.

    Before someone balks at this approach, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that “a witness may have a reasonable fear of prosecution and yet be innocent of any wrongdoing. The privilege serves to protect the innocent who otherwise might be ensnared by ambiguous circumstances.”

  2. Thank you for sharing this.

    Our stories are not too different. I was also convicted in Michigan for CSC 4th Degree (attempted). Until 2011, registration in Michigan was for only 10 years. I had only 2 years left to go on the registry when Michigan adopted the Adam Walsh Act and swept up everyone to register for 25 years or life. Currently there is not a path off the registry in Michigan unless you were a minor at the time of conviction.

    The good news is our movement has been successful in several legal challenges against the Michigan registry. I am optimistic that things will get better for this state and that in time there will be a path off the registry, or that people will just be released from it when the law is struck.. Hopefully if that happens, Georgia will honor it’s policy and release you from their registry as well.

    Florida on the other hand is the worst state to be registered in. That registry is intentionally bloated to increase the amount of federal funding. If a registrant even visits Florida for just 3 days, they go on Florida’s registry for LIFE, and after life, as Florida has dead people still listed on it’s registry.

    I know things are very tough. The tide is slowly turning, though. I am optimistic that it won’t always be like this. These laws are struggling to hold up to constitutional scrutiny.

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