Zach Anderson's case highlights issues with Michigan sex offender registry, retired Michigan judge says

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By: Krystal Vivian kvivian@953mnc.com

A retired Michigan judge is hoping the national attention that Zach Anderson’s case has received will encourage lawmakers to revise the state’s sex offender registry, which he says is ineffective and too broad.

Retired Van Buren County Circuit Court Judge William Buhl told the South Bend Tribune that the punishment of being put on the registry doesn’t always fit the crime — especially in Anderson’s case — and many of the restrictions pushed by lawmakers aren’t proven to be effective.

Anderson is awaiting a second ruling from Berrien County District Judge Dennis Wiley after Anderson admitted that he had sex in December with a Niles, Mich., girl who told him she was 17 but admitted to him that she was 14 weeks after their encounter. Anderson was 19 at the time and the two had met on an over-18 section of a dating app called Hot or Not

Wiley sentenced Anderson to 90 days in jail and being listed on the sex offender registries in Michigan and Indiana for 25 years, which comes with a long list of requirements that forced Anderson to change the focus of his college studies and move into a house alone that meets the registry’s guidelines.

Buhl told the Tribune that, like many people on Michigan’s sex offender registry, Anderson is facing a sentence that is too harsh for his crime.

“It gets to the point where you say, ‘Is someone just wanting to make this young man’s life hell?’” Buhl told the Tribune.

Read more about why and how Buhl wants to reform the sex offender registry in Michigan in the full story from the South Bend Tribune.