A Project of the University of Michigan Law School and the MDefenders Program

Expert Reports on Low Rates of Sex Offense Recidivism and the Counterproductive Impact of Sex Offender Registration and Notification (SORN) Requirements on Public Safety, Deterrence, and Recidivism

The ACLU of Michigan included these reports as exhibits in its recent litigation attacking the constitutionality of Michigan’s Sex Offenders Registration Act (SORA). Does v. Whitmer (Does III), No. 22-cv-10209 (E.D. Mich.). The research cited in these reports — specifically on the low risk of recidivism among people convicted of sexual offenses and the counterproductive impact […]

Motion to Exclude Prior Convictions as Impermissibly Prejudicial

Details the dilemma that admitting a prior felony conviction results in: if the defendant testifies and his conviction is introduced, research shows there is a heightened risk that the jury will use the prior conviction to “draw an impermissible inference.” However, if the defendant chooses not to testify in order to prevent his conviction from […]

Amicus Brief – Pre-trial Publicity

Studies demonstrate that pre-trial publicity impacts decision-making and individual questioning about content exposure is necessary in cases involving substantial, prejudicial pre-trial publicity

Motion to Exclude Gruesome and Inflammatory Photographs

“When jurors are presented with evidence that is particularly gruesome, they are likely to experience a visceral emotionally charged feeling that leads them to be inappropriately punitive.” Incorporates studies demonstrating that exposure to gruesome evidence decreases the brain’s capacity for logical reasoning.

Brief – Other Acts Evidence – Drug Use Evidence in Drug Distribution Case

p. 22-38 discuss the use of 404(b) “other acts” evidence and why evidence of drug possession is not relevant to intent to distribute drugs. The brief goes on to outline research demonstrating that such “other acts” evidence is highly likely to improperly prejudice the jury in a way that cannot be cured by a limiting […]