Kansas Supreme Court divided over offender registration law

Seal of the Kansas Supreme Court. (Courtesy KSNT)

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court is divided over whether a law requiring criminal offenders to register with local authorities after prison represents extra punishment.

A 4-3 majority has concluded that registration for sex, drug and violent offenders is not extra punishment. Its latest decision came Thursday in the appeal of Djuan Richardson.

He was convicted of selling cocaine in Sedgwick County in 2003 and pleaded guilty to violating the offender registration law in 2011. He later sought unsuccessfully to withdraw that plea.

Registration for drug offenders was mandated after Richardson’s first conviction. He argued it was unconstitutional to apply the requirement to him.

But in a series of rulings starting last year, the court’s majority has said offender registration is not punishment but a regulatory scheme that can be applied retroactively.

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