TOPEKA (AP) - A defense lawyer said the 22-year prison sentence his client received for failing to register as a sex offender is excessive, but the Shawnee County prosecutor said the sentence stems from a law aimed at keeping people safe.
[name withheld] was sentenced to 22 years and eight months for failing to register every three months as a violent offender in Shawnee County. [name withheld] was charged twice in Shawnee County for offender registration counts, the first time in 2011 and again this year, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
"This penalty is exponentially greater than the actual penalty he received for the sex crimes," [name withheld]'s lawyer David McDonald said Monday. "That's the stupid part."
McDonald also said [name withheld]'s failure to register in 2013 stemmed from his move from one apartment to another in the same complex and then not updating that information in the registry. McDonald sought a sentence of three years of probation for [name withheld] or an alternative prison term of two years and eight months.
Sentences being given to people in Kansas for failing to register "have just gone way too far," McDonald said. "It's gone incredibly too far."
McDonald said [name withheld] had two sex offense convictions. The first, for attempted indecent liberties with a juvenile was adjudicated in 1997 when [name withheld] was juvenile. The second was in Johnson County when he was an adult in 2002. In the adult offense, [name withheld] was 21 in 2002 when he made an indecent solicitation to a child between 14 and 16.
Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor said the sentence given [name withheld] on May 10 stems from a "powerful tool the Legislature has provided to us to keep our community safe." The Kansas statute Taylor was referring to makes failure to register as an offender a person felony.
- And what's that tool? Cruel and unusual punishment that is an unconstitutional punishment!
Taylor also said [name withheld] was a "serial noncompliant, nonregistering kind of guy," and that when filing a charge, a prosecutor has discretion on what to file, and if the defendant hasn't been a problem, the prosecutor could file attempted failure to register, which carries probation as a penalty. Failure to register carries a presumptive prison sentence, he said.
If offenders "aren't compliant, prison awaits," Taylor said. "It's a good tool so people know who lives next door."