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Mon July 11, 2011
Michigan Supreme Court says homeless sex offenders must report 'home' address to state
A Michigan Supreme Court says homeless sex offenders must report their home address to the state even though they don’t actually have homes. Paroled sex offenders are legally required to provide their home address to the state sex offender registry. But what if they’re homeless?
Randall Lee Dowdy is a convicted rapist. He was paroled in 2002. But he was arrested again a few years later after he gave the address of a Lansing non-profit as his ‘home address’. Dowdy was homeless at the time.
Lower courts ruled Dowdy couldn’t be charged with violating the law since he didn’t have a home address to report.
But the Michigan Supreme Court says homelessness is no excuse. In a 4 to 3 decision, the high court ruled the lower courts had not taken the ‘intent’ of the law into account, adding homelessness doesn’t prevent sex offenders from complying with the law requiring them to report their ‘home’ address to the state.
The dissenting justices describe the majority’s opinion as defying ‘common sense.’