For Immediate Release 04/22/16
Kansas Supreme Court Affirms District Court’s Finding that the Application of Sex Offender Registration Law to Firm’s Client is Unconstitutional
In a sex offender registration case before the Kansas Supreme Court, Christopher M. Joseph and Carrie E. Parker of Joseph, Hollander & Craft LLC successfully defended the Shawnee County District Court’s judgment granting the firm’s client, John Doe, relief from registration obligations extended by Kansas Offender Registration Act (“KORA”) amendments implemented in 2011.
In October of 2015, Judge Larry Hendricks of the Shawnee County District Court granted the summary judgment motion Mr. Joseph and Ms. Parker filed on behalf of John Doe. Judge Hendricks’ decision declared the KORA to be punitive and in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution when applied retroactively.
The Director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Sheriff of Johnson County, Kansas, appealed the district court’s decision to the Kansas Supreme Court. Mr. Joseph argued the cause, and Ms. Parker was with him on the brief. The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s decision, holding that “the amended statutory scheme cannot be applied retroactively to any sex offender who committed the qualifying crime prior to July 1, 2011.”
“The Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in Doe v. Thompson, et al. forever relieves our client, John Doe, of his obligation to register under the KORA,” said Mr. Joseph. But, because of the Kansas Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Peterson-Beard, released the same day, other individuals in Mr. Doe’s position will not get relief from Kansas registration requirements. “This is an area of law that is evolving,” said Mr. Joseph. “We took one step forward with the Doe decision, and one step back with the Peterson-Beard decision.” Mr. Joseph “has little doubt” that courts across the country, including the United States Supreme Court, will ultimately agree with the Doe majority’s ruling that offender registration laws are punitive.