Do Mistaken Identities Ever Happen on The Michigan Sex Offender Registry?

Whoops! We made a mistake! We trashed your reputation because we thought you were a sex offender!


Let’s start with a story. Everyone loves a good story, right? Good. Because this is a great story!


On May 31, 1999, in Kansas City, Kansas, Ricky Amos and his gang snatched a woman’s phone at a Walmart store. While the woman and the security guard working there weren’t able to make an exact facial ID, they were able to give the cops a pretty good description of the phone-snatcher’s face. Using the description given to them, the cops rushed off to look for a slim, light-skinned black or Latino man with dark eyes, braided hair, and a goatee.


So did they get their guy?


In the end, police arrested a man matching that description – the innocent Richard Jones, who was later convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Jones was in the 15th year of his sentence when other inmates made him aware of a look-alike who happened to be serving a sentence in that same prison, for a different crime. It was a man named Richard Jones, and further investigation revealed he was the original phone snatcher!


How the heck did that happen?


Once you see pictures of Richard Jones and Ricky Amos side-by-side, it’s easy to see why the one was confused for the other by witnesses. But the reason we shared this story with you wasn’t to make a point about the unreliability of eyewitnesses (although that is a real issue!) The point was to illustrate how easy it is to mistake one person for another… and the lasting consequences that can have on someone’s life!


What’s the point here?


Can you imagine what would happen if someone went online to the Michigan sex offender registry (SORA) and looked at pictures of sex offenders in their area? And then later, when they were picking up their kid at school in Grand Rapids or Bay City, they noticed that the janitor looked an awful lot like one of the sex offenders on the list. Or at the grocery store in Ionia or Howell, they saw that the greeter at the door (who smiled at their child) was a dead ringer for one of the Tier 3 offenders they read about earlier that week? What do you imagine would happen?


Nothing good, that’s what!


They may go back online, try to confirm their suspicions, but either way, they’re already convinced. Which means they’ll probably start telling their neighbors to watch out for the sex offender working at the grocery store. Or complain to the school about not doing rigorous background checks on their employees and whisper to other parents indignantly about how awful it is that a sex offender can get a job at a school and no one even notices!


But it’s all a mistake! Surely once they realize…?


It doesn’t matter. They may figure out they were mistaken. Or they may not. But that’s not the point. The rumors have started. The way that person will be treated at work will start to change. Rumors may spread in their community. They might lose friends, or even have it impact their attempt to get a job in the future. All we’re trying to say here is that there are definite downsides to being on Michigan’s sex offender registry – because not everyone does their homework properly. And then innocent people suffer!


Being on the public sex offender registry is awful!


Being mistaken for someone on the Michigan sex offender registry is awful. But being on the registry is the absolute worst! As we’ve mentioned before, the best way to avoid getting on the registry is to make sure you have the best possible sex crime defense attorney working on your case from the very beginning! So call The Kronzek Firm right now at 866 766 5245  or (866 7No Jail) and get the best sex crime defense available in Michigan! For almost a quarter century, we’ve been helping falsely accused people in Michigan fight CSC charges.