New Michigan Law: Teens with Consensual Sex Offenses May Remove Stigma
(Detroit, Michigan) Apr. 18 – Beginning July 1, teenagers who are convicted of having consensual sex with a teen younger than 16 will no longer have their name added to Michigan’s sex registry, provided they weren’t more than four years older than their partner at the time of the offense.
Of equal importance, the new legislation also affords people who have already been convicted of this sex crime — under the aforementioned circumstances — to petition the court for their removal from the state sex registry. “This presents a rare opportunity for many people to clear their name — people who would normally face long-lasting stigmatization for an offense they committed in their youth,” explained criminal defense attorney Mary A. Mahoney of the Schwartz Law Firm.
The Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry was created to provide the public with the location of convicted sex offenders, thereby affording families and concerned citizens the ability to take precautions when a sexual predator lives in their neighborhood. Most people believe that teenage sweethearts, or ‘Romeo-and-Juliet’ offenders, do not fit into the objective of the sex registry.
Gov. Rick Snyder signed the bill into law on Tuesday, Apr. 12, in response to what most lawmakers deemed to be the will of the public. Legislators such as bill sponsor Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) felt passionately that hindering a young person’s future by registry inclusion was simply a punishment that didn’t fit the crime.
The Detroit Free Press speculated that as many as 2,000 people of the 45,000 listed in Michigan’s sex offender registry could be positively affected by the change in law. But as Attorney Mahoney explained, “Unfortunately the change in law won’t automatically erase past offenders’ names from the registry, they may still need to go through the complicated legal process of petitioning the court and formally requesting their approval before a judge.”
Mary A. Mahoney has been an attorney for over 20 years, devoting nearly all of her practice to litigation. She has been providing superb criminal defense for her clients at Schwartz Law Firm since 2005. Mahoney also aids clients in the areas of business and commercial litigation, as well as employment law and discrimination.
The Schwartz Law Firm has been providing excellent legal representation to clients in the Detroit area for nearly 40 years. It serves clients in a variety of practice areas, including criminal defense, business and corporate law, family law, bankruptcy, and veterans law.