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Supreme Court Rules in Salina Registered Offender Case

KSAL StaffDecember 1, 2017

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled in a case involving a Salina woman who failed to register as a drug offender.

In an opinion written by Justice Caleb Stegall, the Supreme Court affirmed 37-year-old Ami Latrice Simmons’ conviction in Saline County District Court for violating the Kansas Offender Registration Act. A majority of the court held the Legislature intended the act to be nonpunitive and Simmons failed to demonstrate by the clearest proof that registration under the act has a punitive effect on drug offenders. The court also rejected Simmons’ argument that the executive branch had “modified” her sentence and determined she was statutorily required to pay a $200 DNA database fee. Justices Beier, Rosen, and Johnson dissented.

In 2005 Simmons pled guilty to possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute and to selling cocaine. The district court sentenced her to serve 30 months in prison, and she was paroled in October 2008. While serving her prison sentence, the Kansas Legislature amended the Kansas Offender Registration Act to require drug offenders such as Simmons to register. After she was released on parole, Simmons alleges she was “ordered” or required to register by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation or the Kansas Department of Corrections, and she began to do so.

The State does not contest the fact that Simmons was notified of her obligation to register by some agency of the executive branch of government. In 2011, the State charged Simmons with failing to register as required. In response, Simmons argued the retroactive application of the law violated the Ex Post Facto Clause of the United States Constitution. The district court disagreed. After a trial on stipulated facts, Simmons was found guilty and ordered to pay a $200 DNA database fee.

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