Kansas judge finds offender registry 'punitive' - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Kansas judge finds offender registry 'punitive'

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TOPEKA, KS (KCTV/AP) -

A judge has ordered the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to remove a man's name from the state's offender registry for sex, drug and violent crimes.

Shawnee County Judge Larry Hendricks ruled Tuesday that a state law passed two years ago extending the amount of time offenders must remain on the registry is punitive. He says the registration period is excessive, and the notification system ostracizes offenders.

The man, known as John Doe in court records, pleaded guilty in 2003 to taking indecent liberties with a child in Johnson County. He was then required to remain on the registry for 10 years, until this year.

But the 2011 law extended the registering requirement to 25 years for that crime, and the plaintiff was told it applied retroactively and that he'd have to remain on the list until 2028.

Hendricks ruled that it was a constitutional violation. He ordered the man removed from the registry.

"People controlled by this act also have relatives that are affected by the act," he said. "The increased requirements that are in effect, increased punishment, do not and cannot survive the revealing light of our Constitution."

The 2011 law says the extension is for 15 or 25 years, or even life depending on the severity of the crime.

The ruling could remove hundreds of names from the list of registered sex offenders in Kansas.

"If it is a punishment added after the fact, you can't increase penalties after somebody's been convicted of a crime," attorney Chris Joseph said. "The judge agreed registration is a punishment."

Joseph, who represented the man in court, said too many people are on the list, who pose no danger to society. He believes the judge's ruling will help this.

Those on the registry, including the defendant, have been penalized and have difficulty in getting on with their lives, Joseph explained.

"It's extremely difficult to get employment, maintain housing, he has a family," Joseph said. "Imagine having children, trying to be a father. His children know because other kids said things to them."

Copyright2013 KCTV (MeredithCorp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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