Friday, October 02, 2009

Kentucky Supreme Court strikes down sex offender law

This from C-J:

A state law that bans convicted sex offenders from living near schools and other places where children congregate is unconstitutional, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The decision means that potentially thousands of sex offenders either won't have to move or that they can move back into their former homes.

Kentucky lawmakers passed a law in 2006 that barred sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day care centers and playgrounds. In a 5-2 decision, justices held that the law is punitive because lawmakers applied it retroactively to sex offenders convicted before the restrictions were imposed. The restrictions will still apply to anyone convicted after July 2006.

By doing so, the majority concluded, lawmakers unconstitutionally imposed a
punishment that wasn't in criminal law at the time the sex offenders were convicted.

Covington attorney Bradley Wayne Fox challenged the Kentucky law on behalf of a Kenton County man who pleaded guilty to statutory rape in 1995 and was arrested in 2007 on a charge of living within 1,000 feet of a public park.

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