In People v Dowdy, the Court of Appeals issued a published opinion interpreting SORA -- the Sex Offender Registry Act. A homeless man was prosecuted for not complying with SORA's requirements that a sex offender "report his or her new residence or domicile within 10 days after the individual changes or vacates his or her new residence [or] domicile..." MCL 28.725.
The Court of Appeals examined the statutory and dictionary definitions of "residence" and concluded that "the provisional location where a homeless person happens to spend the night does not fall within the ambit of these definitions. A homeless person is not provided an accommodation by another as a place to habitually sleep or store personal items." Indeed, the COA noted that the "concepts of habitually and regularity are antithetical to the circumstances of homelessness."
The COA affirmed the trial court's dismissal of the charges against the homeless defendant, and invited the Legislature to include a provision in SORA to address the reporting requirements for the homeless.