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KY Supreme Court Strikes Down Sex Offender Law

October 1, 2009

kentucky.com : Kentucky Supreme Court strikes down sex offender law.

The Supreme Court of Kentucky has ruled that a law limiting where registered sex offenders can live cannot apply to those who committed offenses before July 12, 2006, the day the law was implemented. The law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of playgrounds, daycare centers and schools, and changed how the distance is measured.

The court, in a decision dated Oct. 1, said the law is punitive in nature and violates the ex post facto clause in the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states from passing laws that increase punishment for old crimes.

In October 2006, authorities in Fayette County began knocking on doors and arresting sex offenders who were in violation of the law. At the time, there were 256 sex offenders in Fayette County and 180 were expected to move. Most of them were living in older, urban neighborhoods inside New Circle Road. Downtown Lexington was virtually off limits. Several registered sex offenders owned homes for years and were upset about being forced to move because of a new law.

Sex offenders across the state took their concerns to court only to receive varying opinions from judges.

*Read the Kentucky Supreme Court ruling (PDF)
Full ruling in Kentucky v. Baker, No. 2007-SC-000347-CI (Ky. Oct. 1, 2009) (available here)

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