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Kansas Supreme Court Decisions for September 17, 2021

17 Sep 2021 11:05 AM | Amanda Kohlman (Administrator)

Appeal No. 119,759: State of Kansas v. Lonnie A. Davidson
Summary calendar; no oral argument
A Supreme Court majority rejected Davidson's challenge to the Kansas Offender Registration Act (KORA), K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq. Reaffirming its holding in State v. Petersen-Beard, 304 Kan. 192, 377 P.3d 1127 (2016), that KORA is nonpunitive, the court held that mandatory lifetime postrelease registration under KORA does not constitute punishment for purposes of applying provisions of the ex post facto clause of the United States Constitution. Justice Melissa Standridge concurred in the result based on principles of stare decisis, noting the only change that had occurred since Petersen-Beard was decided was the composition of the court. Justice Eric Rosen dissented from the majority's decision, reiterating his longstanding opinion that KORA's registration requirements are punitive and concluding that retroactive application of the registration requirements to Davidson violated the ex post facto clause.

Appeal No. 119,796: State of Kansas v. N.R.

Appeal No. 119,796 archived oral argument

In a majority opinion, the Supreme Court today held that the Kansas Offender Registration Act's (KORA) mandatory lifetime registration provisions as applied to a registered juvenile sex offender does not constitute punishment for the purposes of applying the ex post facto clause and the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution and section 9 of the Kansas Constitution Bill of Rights. The majority further held that such provisions as applied to the juvenile offender do not infringe on his due process rights under the Kansas Constitution. In 2006, N.R. was 14 years old when he was adjudicated on a rape charge. At that time, the magistrate judge ordered that he only be required to register locally as an offender for five years. However, in 2011 the Kansas Legislature amended KORA in such a way that N.R. was then required to publicly register as an offender for life. The majority rejected N.R.'s arguments that such requirements violated ex post facto, constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and violated his state constitutional due process rights.

Appeal No. 123,045: State of Kansas v. Meka Richardson

Summary calendar; no oral argument
The Supreme Court affirmed the Wyandotte County District Court's ruling denying a motion to correct illegal sentence. Richardson, who is currently serving a hard-40 sentence after she was convicted in 1992 of first-degree murder, argued that her sentence was illegal because it did not conform to K.S.A. 1992 Supp. 21-4624. Specifically, she asserted that the jury did not unanimously convict her on a premeditation theory, which is statutorily required before a district court judge can convene a separate trial to determine the hard-40 sentence. In an opinion written by Justice Standridge, the Court unanimously held that the jury instructions and the verdict form in this case conclusively show that the jury unanimously convicted Richardson of premeditated and felony first-degree murder. The court further determined that the district court correctly construed Richardson's motion as a motion to correct an illegal sentence and not as a motion for postconviction relief under K.S.A. 60-1507.

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