Appeal No. 122,685: In the Matter of A.B.
Archived oral argument video
The Kansas Supreme Court reversed Clay County District Court's decision that determined the aggravated indecent liberties with a child statute, K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 21-5506(b)(1), unconstitutionally vague, overbroad, and in violation of the Equal Protection Clause to the U.S. Constitution. The State had charged a then 14-year-old girl for having sexual relations with a then 14-year-old boy, who was a few months older than the girl. The State charged the girl with aggravated indecent liberties with a child instead of the Romeo and Juliet statute, K.S.A. 2020 Supp. 21-5507, a less severe crime. The state cited In re E.R., 40 Kan. App. 2d 986, 197 P.3d 870 (2008), which held individuals charged under the Romeo and Juliet statute must be "under age 19 and older than the child by some period less than 4 years" to be adjudicated a juvenile offender. In an opinion written by Justice Dan Biles, the court overruled E.R. The Supreme Court concluded the Court of Appeals holding in E.R. incorrectly interpreted the Romeo and Juliet law since the statute's plain language does not require the offender be older than the other juvenile.