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KY Sex-offender Case Appealed to U.S. Supreme Court

December 23, 2009

courier-journal.com : Sex-offender case appealed to U.S. Supreme Court.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the state’s restrictions for sex offenders can be applied retroactively to as many as 5,800 people convicted before the limits went into effect in 2006. The 2006 statute made it illegal for registered sex offenders to live within 1,000 feet of a high school, middle school, elementary school, preschool, public playground or licensed day care.

The Kentucky Supreme Court in October ruled 5-2 that the statute was improperly imposed on people convicted before the law went into effect because both the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions prohibit laws that impose or increase punishment on criminal acts committed before the law’s enactment.

In a prepared statement, Conway is seeking the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate (In other words, he is doing this political pandering to appear tough on sex offenders).

Conway’s office on Wednesday filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The court receives about 10,000 requests a year to review cases and decides only about 80. But the question of the retroactive application of sex offender laws has arisen in several states, making it more likely that the high court will accept the case.

Conway’s office has previously indicated it would appeal. It had asked the state Supreme Court to stay its ruling, but that request was denied. The 2006 statute subjected all convicted sex offenders to the residency requirements, while the old law applied only to about 1,200 offenders who were on probation or parole.

Experts said research has shown that sex-offender registries and residency restrictions don’t deter future crimes. And some criminal justice officials said makes it so difficult for some offenders to find a place to live that they stop reporting their addresses to authorities.

In an unsigned opinion, the Kentucky Supreme Court’s majority questioned the rationale of the restrictions, noting that they bar sex offenders from sleeping near a school at night, “when children are not present,” but allow them there during the day, when children are there.

The petition filed by Conway’s office said that the U.S. Supreme Court has never considered whether the retroactive application of a statute imposing a residency restriction on registered sex offenders constitutes punishment prohibited by the ex post facto clause.
The attorney general’s office contends that the new requirements are not a punishment and are thus not covered under that clause.
It notes that a federal appeals court agreed with that view in affirming the retroactive application of Iowa’s sex offender law.

We urge readers to contact this idiot to make their voices heard, especially those in Kentucky:
Tel: 502-696-5300; Fax 502-564-2894
Office of the Attorney General
Capitol Suite 118
700 Capitol Avenue
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-3449

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