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 […]

Memo – Utility of the Theory of Deterrence at Sentencing

Cites research showing that the length of a sentence does not contribute to general deterrence, rather, deterrence is linked to the risk/certainty of detection: “there is no reliable evidence that appreciably longer periods of incarceration for violent crimes have a general deterrent effect on the population.” Particularly when looking at gun crimes and sentencing enhancements, […]

Brief arguing that an individual sentenced to lifetime electronic monitoring and sex offender registration in Michigan is “in custody” for purposes of establishing federal jurisdiction to hear his habeas corpus petition

Although this is a habeas brief, pages 27-29 (p. 34-36 of the PDF) lay out how lifetime electronic monitoring burdens participation in civic and social life by causing adverse impacts on relationships, decreased psychological well being, and reduced employment opportunities. The data collected in this section could be useful to defenders in sentencing and/or pre-trial […]

Sentencing Memorandum for Elderly Client Convicted of Possession of Child Pornography

This sentencing memorandum marshals empirical research about the typical profile and risk assessment of someone convicted of possessing child pornography, along with research related to the client’s age and the impact of incarceration on recidivism/deterrence, to argue that the client is not dangerous or likely to reoffend. These arguments could also be used pretrial in […]