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Supreme Court Rules Sex Offender Registry Not Cruel

Associated Press - April 22, 2016 2:40 pm

The Kansas Supreme Court says a man serving about 54 years in prison after being convicted in a 1999 rape and robbery case in Lawrence may be entitled to a few more days in court.

A divided Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the lifetime registration for sex offenders does not constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

The ruling Friday comes in the case of Henry Petersen-Beard, who was convicted at age 19 of raping a 13-year-old girl. He had challenged the lifetime registration requirement as unconstitutional under the Kansas Bill of Rights and the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In an opinion written by Judge Caleb Stegall the court found the registration requirement was not a form of punishment.

But three other cases released on Friday – that had decided before Stegall took office – found the requirement constituted punishment and therefore a 2011 amendment to the law couldn’t be applied retroactively. However, those rulings applied only to the three defendants in those cases.