Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can't use juvenile adjudications for persistent sex offender classification

Lydia Krebs won in State v. Boyer, No. 98,763 (Kan. June 19, 2009), vacating an enhanced sentence in a Sedgwick County case under K.S.A. 21-4704(j) based on a prior juvenile adjudication. This was primarily a statutory construction case--the KSC had to decide whether a juvenile adjudication satisifies the part of K.S.A. 21-4704(j) which is triggered if the defendant has "at least one [prior] conviction for a sexually violent crime." Based on its precedent, that's pretty easy:
This court and the Court of Appeals have repeatedly held that the legislature not only knows how to distinguish between juvenile adjudications and adult convictions, but it has done so in several statutes. To hold that a reference to convictions in K.S.A. 21-4704(j) now also encompasses juvenile adjudications would throw doubt on the application of other current statutes. Presumably, the legislature has written the current statutes with the court's prior interpretations in mind. It is the prerogative of the legislature, not the court, to amend those statutes. We affirm the decision of the Court of Appeals in this case, holding that juvenile adjudications are not to be considered in the determination of persistent sex offender status under K.S.A. 21-4704(j).

This is sure consistent with what they've said before, so it's not too surprising. But it will sure make a big difference for persons who were dealt with previously in the juvenile system.

1 comment:

danalaine said...

Some families owe Lydia Krebs a big debt of gratitude. She has been doing some brilliant work. I noted that in this case, the court had decided differently in a previous case, but due to her diligent work, she got to the truth of the matter. I hope some day, Kansas will consider LaMunyan where it plainly states that juvenile adjudications are "NOT" to be considered as convictions. Then all these ten year sentences that were doubled to twenty years because of criminal history, because defendant once had a brush with authorities in a long ago past, when he was a child and had no power to defend himself, when he was at the mercy of a hostile father, who forced him to take a plea to save on attorney expenses, and when he had no right to a jury trial....Then, when Apprendi is upheld, finally, there will be more justice in Kansas. (Not using juvenile adjudications is already the law in many states.)