Tuesday, May 8, 2012

MI - Michigan sex offender tiers confusing

Original Article


By Ken Kolker

Even law-writer had trouble using new system

GRAND RAPIDS (WOOD) - Sitting in a corner at the Kava House, Rachel Moran clicked on convicted sex offender [name withheld].

"What did he actually do?" she asked, reading from a list of his convictions on the Michigan State Police Sex Offender Registry.

"Oh, yuck. Sexually abusive material and possession. So he was in possession of child pornography?"

[name withheld], 59, is a Tier 1 offender on the registry, convicted of 4 counts of possessing child porn in 2004 in Washtenaw County.

"So would that be the worst thing you could be on this list for?" Moran asked.

Not hardly.

In fact, [name withheld] would be considered among the lowest-level offenders.

A Target 8 investigation last year exposed a sex registry that lumped together all the state's 47,000 offenders -- from serial rapists to teens who had consensual sex.

It helped lead to a new law, signed last April by Gov. Snyder, that was supposed to make it easier to find predators in your neighborhood.

The law, which follows federal guidelines, split sex offenders into three tiers:

  • Tier 1 (Lowest level offenders. On list for 15 years) -- Includes possession of child porn, inappropriate touching of adult victims.
  • Tier 2 (Mid-level offenders. On list for 25 years) -- Generally involves victims age 13 to 17, including inappropriate touching and gross indecency; does not include sexual penetration. Also includes producing child porn and soliciting prostitutes under 18 years old.
  • Tier 3 (Highest-level offenders. On list for life) -- Generally involves inappropriate touching of victims under age 13, as well as any sexual penetration or attempts (first- and third-degree sexual assault) with victims of any age.

But Target 8 recently put the new list to the test -- with help from some computer-savvy customers at the Kava House in Grand Rapids -- and found only confusion.

The big question: On which of the three tiers can you find so-called predators?

Anya Nyson and Dana Boyer have used the list before -- Nyson to protect her kids; Boyer as a social worker.

They clicked on the first face that popped up in 49503, a zip code covering downtown Grand Rapids. [name withheld], 27, a Tier 3 offender, was convicted of attempted criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree with a person under 13. That's inappropriate touching.

So, Nyson figured, Tier 3 must not be the worst.

"It says 'attempted,' so maybe that's the lower?" she guessed.

And, Target 8 tested a local crime prevention organizer, who also failed to pick out the predators.

"It seems to be vague," said Claire Fisher, of the East Hills Neighborhood Association in Grand Rapids, who was trained on the registry before last year's changes.

As it turns out, the worst of the worst are supposed to be on Tier 3.

"Tier 3 will be the dangerous predators," state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said when he helped re-write the sex offender law.

Tier 3 includes men like [name withheld], 62, who raped at least three young women in 1987 -- two of them in separate attacks in the attic of the home where he was living, each of those attacks involving an accomplice and a knife.

That was four years after being paroled for killing a door-to-door salesman in a robbery in Grand Rapids. He and an accomplice got away with $400.

He served 9 years in prison for the murder, and got 15 to 30 years for the rapes.

Target 8 recently found [name withheld] outside his southwest Grand Rapids home, raking his yard. "I don't want to be on your camera," he said. "I ain't got nothing to say to you at all."

One of [name withheld]' rape victims says he's dangerous and belongs on the list as a predator, though she'd rather see his name in an obituary.

But there is nothing on the registry that actually says Tier 3 is the most dangerous. That's something you have to figure out for yourself.

"I shouldn't have to search for who is a predator," said Kava House customer Rachel Moran. "I should be able to just look and know."

"The problem with this system is it's a state Web site, so it's efficient for them; it's not efficient for us."

She'd prefer a way to sort offenders by tiers, and an easy-to-find definition of the tiers.

Picking out predators is a lot easier in states like Florida, Illinois and Indiana, all with top-rated lists. They label predators or the "sexually dangerous."

"It would be nice if there was a description on this site, and maybe there is, I don't know, but a description of Tier 1 equals this, Tier 2 equals this, you know," Anya Nyson said.

Turns out there is, but good luck finding it.
- I found it in a matter of seconds.  Just click the FAQ and search for TIER and bam, there it is!

Even Sen. Rick Jones, who helped re-write the sex offender law, had trouble finding the definitions.

"Hmmm. I don't see anything here, right off the top," he said while searching the site in his Lansing office at Target 8's request. "I don't see anything there, clearly. There may be something."

The trooper who oversees sex offender enforcement admits the list could use some tweaks.

He points out the "Frequently Asked Questions" page on the sex offender list, but admits "the word 'tier' isn't in any of the questions."
- Remember, you are dealing with brain dead sheeple who need to be force fed information. They need Big Brother to hold their hand and tell them what to do and when to do it. Maybe you need a "Using the Michigan Sex Offender Registry For Dummies Book" or something?

"I believe it's answer No. 16 that will explain the tier levels."

The list, he said, might not be user-friendly enough.

"If they (users) have suggestions, we're willing to take those suggestions and make changes so it is useful for the public."


deathklok said...

   If there's a Ouija board that predicts who the dangerous villains are and labels them as "Predators" then why don't we use that tool on ALL males. I've read that 95% of sex crimes that are being tried in court are people not on the registry. It would be the righteous thing to do if it saves even one child.
   This program seems like it could have a dangerous backlash like many of the sex offender laws in that it would single out the "Predators" for any willing vigilante that might be looking for a victim. Some of the "Predators" that may have committed a crime 30yrs. ago and have since stayed out of trouble or maybe one who is raising a family now. 
  Ozzy says it best.

Guest said...

"He served 9 years in prison for the murder, and got 15 to 30 years for the rapes."


Miriam Hill said...

I know someone who only attempted to have sex with another full grown adult. He was drunk, she was drunk. He left without injuring her or forcibly touching her in any manner whatsoever. He accepted a plea bargain after 2 years of fighting the case because he ran out of money. This new law reclassifies him to Tier 3, reserved for the worst predators. He's considered more dangerous than someone who tried to have sex with a child!!!!!!! And he's forced to register for life while your child molester is off the list after 15 or 25 years. This new tier law is actually unconstitutional because it reclassifies people (often, more punitively) than the plea bargains they originally agreed to. It's also just plain dumb and confused with more scary, yucky offenders getting less registration time than people like the guy I know who had a verbal misunderstanding with another adult and was too broke to fight the case further. Ohio has already ruled it unconstitutional to reclassify people under this SB 10 law. Hopefully the rest of the USA wakes up!! Just think-- with this as a precedent, the court could go back in time and change anybody's sentences just cause they feel like it, despite whatever that person originally agreed to. Imagine doing your time then just getting a death sentence because they felt like it or made up another law...

Anonymous said...

As defined above:Tier 3 (Highest-level offenders. On list for life) -- Generally involves inappropriate touching of victims under age 13, as well as any sexual penetration or attempts (first- and third-degree sexual assault) with victims of any age
"The worst of the worst"
"Tier 3 will be the dangerous predators," state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said when he helped re-write the sex offender law.

On the first definition: inappropriate touching over clothes is treated same as one who committed sexual penetration?

Second definition: It becomes worst because one is to register LIFETIME. Do neighbors have to look at you as well as a LIFETIME offender even if one has not reoffended?

Third defintion: Dangerous? How does one offender categorize as dangerous? Is an offender with a one-time offense and has not reoffended for more than 10 or 25 years, be leveled with an offender who reoffended more than once?

The registry is helpful for law state enforcement and public. However, it is the belief that the really "dangerous" re-offending ones should be put in public registry instead of those who at one point in their life made "one" dumbest mistake. They served their sentence and they should be given the second chance in life.

with held said...

this law is good, however its not fair to the ones who were not sentence under the law back in 1990, its is double jeopardy. For those who done their time, and was told to register for 25 years, and when their time was almost up they came out with another law for life.

Jason Sanders said...

Any one convicted of a C.S.C. 4th degree misstermenar should only have to register for the max of 15 years as a 1 tier.

Jason Sanders said...

I have something to say about this tier 3 list and the new laws--they are CRAP. And let me explain why:

in 1996 at the age of 17, my boyfriend had a nervous breakdown and broke into the house of a friend to try to find a credit card so that he could use it to get online (to pay for a connection) to find someone to discuss his problems with. The house was supposed to be empty because the entire family was supposed to be out for the night.

While searching for a credit card, he realized that the sister of his friend (who did NOT live at the residence and to his knowledge was not there) was asleep in her bed. He proceeded to panic, woke her up and the two of them drove to his home. They talked for 45 minutes and he had her tell him how good her life was and that there was hope for him. He drove her home and left to go see his girlfriend.

She went home, went to bed and in the morning, she told her parents what had happened. He ended up getting probation for the incident and no jail time. Long story short, he violated his probation and served time in prison. While he was in prison, a law was passed in Michigan. That law states that it is mandatory that anyone involved in the kidnapping of a minor MUST register as a tier 3 offender-WHETHER OR NOT ANY SEXUAL ACTIVITY TOOK PLACE.
So, you think that since he committed his crime more than 3 years BEFORE THAT KIDNAPPING LAW WAS ENACTED that he could not be added to that list...you would be WRONG...even though he was only 17, and all they did was talk (she later testified on his behalf when they were going to give him a life sentence because he was violated for being homeless).
So...Yeah, it's all a bunch of crap and a big, huge mess...Everyday, we have to worry about some nut job who thinks that he's a child molester (just because he is a tier 3) who may decide that he should take justice into his own hands and kill our pets...and no lawyer will TOUCH the case for him...

Jason Sanders said...

this is bull im a tier 2 and it included penetration even though my polygraph stated i was innocent but thats how they charged me anyway and was told if i ever want to see daylight again to keep my mouth shut plus i know somebody who raped 2 13 year old girls and got them pregnant and is a tier 1 which is considered the highest threat in michigan

Ryan Brown said...

The tiers are there. All we need is a competent assessor to enter the
proper people who fit the criteria to the tier so that we the public can
say this person is a #1 not so bad, #2 a little creepier, and #3 A real
Bad person and due to the synonymous amount of time they have to

Ryan Brown said...

Seems as though once sentenced and the court set your sentence, unless you were retried on new and convincing evidence for the same or another crime that was on the books at the time. This could not happen. This would be tantamount to making laws so that no one could ever get out from under paying for any crime.

John Doe said...

I agree with you I think that the Law is crap the Judge government think they can do what ever they want to us. We the people should do something about them. I am also on the Tier 3 and I was also in prison before this new Law where put in to place and I am also going through Hell can't find a Job,a Home for my wife and me.