Willman v. U.S. Attorney General, No. 19-2405 (6th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
In 1993, Willman was convicted for violating a Michigan sexual assault law. He served 10 years in prison and completed parole. Willman registered on Michigan’s sex offender registry. Congress, in 2006, passed the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), 34 U.S.C. 20901 to “make more uniform" a patchwork of federal and 50 individual state registration systems, that had resulted in an estimated 100,000 sex offenders becoming missing or lost. SORNA “made it a federal crime for a sex offender who meets certain requirements to ‘knowingly fai[l] to register or update a registration’” Willman challenged the Michigan law and SORNA. The district court dismissed the Michigan defendants and directed them to not enforce the 2006 and 2011 amendments to Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act against Willman. The court declared that the duration of Willman’s registration under Michigan law had ended and that he should be removed from that registry. The court later dismissed the federal claims.
The Sixth Circuit affirmed. A sex offender’s obligations under SORNA are independent of any duties under state law. The court rejected Willman’s arguments that SORNA is unconstitutional as an ex post facto law, as double jeopardy, as violating the Fifth Amendment, as cruel and unusual punishment, as overbroad and vague, as violating his privacy rights, and as violating his right to travel.