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159539 - Anthony Hart v State of Michigan

Anthony Hart,

 

William Goodman

 

Plaintiff-Appellant,

 

v

(Appeal from Ct of Appeals)

 

 

(Ct of Claims – Stephens, C.)

 

State of Michigan,

 

Joseph Froelich

 

Defendant-Appellee.

 

Summary

In 2001, the then-juvenile plaintiff was adjudicated as having committed misdemeanor fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. He was required, under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), MCL 28.721 et seq., to report and register his address for 25 years. The SORA was amended in 2011 to establish a tier system, classifying plaintiff’s offense as Tier II and providing in part that Tier II offenders who had been adjudicated as juveniles were no longer required or expected to register. The parties agree that plaintiff’s name should have been removed from the sex offender registry, but that did not occur and plaintiff continued to register. In 2013, plaintiff registered his address incorrectly and was charged with violating SORA. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was assessed a fine. In 2014, plaintiff was again arrested for failing to comply with SORA. He pleaded guilty to the felony charge of failure to register and was sentenced to serve a prison term and ordered to pay a fine. After 17 months of imprisonment, plaintiff was released from prison, and his convictions and sentences were vacated. Plaintiff filed suit against the state, alleging that it had violated his constitutional rights through its policies, customs, and practices, which were a “moving force” behind the constitutional violations. The Court of Claims denied defendant’s motion for summary disposition, concluding that plaintiff properly alleged that, due in part to defendant’s knowledge that law enforcement officers and prosecutors rely on the sex offender registry when making charging decisions, there was a direct causal link between defendant’s policies, practices, and customs that led to the inaccuracy of the registry and plaintiff’s illegal arrests and prosecutions. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that plaintiff had not alleged sufficient facts showing a direct causal link between the alleged failure to train employees and the alleged constitutional violation such that defendant’s “deliberate indifference” could be shown. The Supreme Court has granted plaintiff’s application for leave to appeal to address whether the Court of Appeals erred when it concluded that he had failed to allege sufficient facts to state a constitutional-tort claim under the principles outlined in Canton v Harris, 489 US 378 (1989), and Bryan Co Bd of Co Commr’s v Brown, 520 US 397, 409 (1997).​