Kansas legislation rethink public offender registry rules

February 22, 2020 GMT

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers are considering making changes to the criminal public offender registry system and cutting back on penalties.

The expansive system that publicly tracks convicted criminals after they’ve served their time covers a wide range of crimes beyond sex offenses, Kansas News Service reported. Now, some policymakers believe it’s time to ease the rules.

Marc Schultz, convicted of manslaughter for hitting and killing a cyclist while driving drunk in 2010, said he didn’t intentionally commit a violent crime but still has to be listed among those who committed crimes like sexual assault, human trafficking or kidnapping


“When people look at that map they don’t know the difference between the dots that they see,” Schultz said, noting a map with too many offenders makes it less useful for the public.

“It doesn’t matter if something is minor or something is major,” said Jennifer Roth, co-chair of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. “It’s all treated the same. That makes no sense.”

Proposed changes include reducing penalties for not registering properly and changing the 15-year registration term for those convicted of crimes, like drug distribution, to only face a five-year registration term.

Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, representing the Kansas Sheriff’s Association, believes citizens should be allowed to know that a convicted drug dealer has moved into their neighborhood.

Easter said the proposals go too far, but does agree some rules need to be changed.