A Kansas Jessica Law offense is a sexual crime not governed by the Kansas Sentencing Guidelines Grid. Crimes outside the scope of the Sentencing Guidelines Grid are typically referred to as “off-grid” crimes in Kansas.
Almost every state has a version of Jessica’s Law, which is designed to bring down harsh punishments for child sex offenders. Kansas legislature wrote its version of Jessica’s Law which was signed into law by the Governor in 2006.
The hardline approach to sentencing for a Kansas Jessica’s Law offense has exponentially increased the prison terms served by those convicted of the specified child sex crimes on or after July 1, 2006.
Even a first time sex offender with no prior criminal history will serve a mandatory minimum of 25 years when convicted of a specified sexual assault on a child under the age of 14 if the convicted person was over 18 at the time the sex crime was committed.
Upon a first offense of such a crime, you will face a term of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole for 25 years.
When an adult is convicted of a specified Jessica’s Law sex crime against a child under 14, and he or she is found to have a previous conviction of a specified sexual assault, in any jurisdiction (in the country), the accused will face a term of imprisonment for life with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 40 years. Sex offenders in Kansas with more than 2 priors will serve 40 years without the possibility of parole.
Specified Kansas Jessica Law offenses are as follows:
Aggravated human trafficking if the victim is under 14
- Rape, as defined by K.S.A. 21-5503
- Aggravated indecent liberties with a child
- Aggravated criminal sodomy
- Promoting prostitution when the prostitute is under 14 years old
- Sexual exploitation of a child when the child is under 14 years old
- Criminal solicitation, as defined by K.S.A. 21-5301; and any
- Attempts or conspiracies to perpetrate such crimes.
The reality of the harshness of Kansas sex offender laws cannot be overstated. Being accused of a felony sex crime in this state can mean loss of personal freedom, family and social prospects.
A good attorney knows the seriousness of these realities, and will be prepared to fight against adverse outcomes for their client. While the Kansas Jessica’s Law is strict, it does allow the judge some discretion in sentence mitigation if compelling reasons are found.
Jessica’s laws for sex offenders may not apply if a judge finds reason to depart from the severe punishment of this Law. The judge can then refer back to the Sentencing Grid for the appropriate standard instead. This is called a “downward departure” and can significantly reduce sentences.
Some examples of when a judge may be compelled to make a downward departure are:
- No prior criminal activity.
- The defendant was under extreme mental or emotional distress.
- The defendant acted under duress while dominated by another person.
- The mental capacity of the defendant to understand the criminality of his or her acts was substantially impaired; and
- The age of the defendant at the time of the crime.
Defense for a Kansas Jessica Law offense begins at the first sign of investigation. If you or a loved one have been implicated in a sexual offense, please contact attorney John DeMarco for a consultation about the case.