can a convicted sex offender legally change his name in Michigan, even if he's on the sex offender registry?
2 Answers from Attorneys
It's up to the judge hearing the petition. They have to do a background check, so I doubt it.
Name changes are handled in the Probate Court. There are some standard State Court Administrator's Office (SCAO) forms you can use, but you should contact the probate court you live in to get those to fill out. There is a "to do list" beyond filing out the paperwork, including getting fingerprinted and submitting the prints to the State Police to run a criminal history. A big concern the court will likely have is that if the name change may be done fraudulently, or to confuse the public, then the court can say "no". And here, having a registered sex offender change his name may be done to fly under the radar of the SORA. Read further about the name change process at: http://courts.mi.gov/self-help/center/casetype/pages/namechangesh.aspx . This page says in part: "Your petition must give the reason for the name change and assure the court that you are not seeking a name change with any dishonest intent." It would be a good idea to hire an attorney to help you file the right papers, jump through the right hoops, and make a good argument to the court. Personally, I would be very skeptical about why a sex offender is trying to create a new identity, and the public risk involved if neighbors, etc. could not know exactly who the new neighbor is.
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