From sex crimes to traffic violations; What you need to know about the radical Kansas criminal law


TOPEKA, (KSNT) – New Kansas law means sweeping changes in the way the state deals with crime.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly held a Senate Bill 60 signing ceremony on Thursday. The law came into effect on July 1 and deals with everything from penalties for sex crimes to traffic violations.

“We have a responsibility to carefully review the laws that we have had in place for years,” Governor Kelly said.

The governor was joined by several other heads of state and law enforcement officials from Kansas. Some supporters have said the law is a necessary step in reforming the state’s criminal justice system, after a series of concerns over several issues last year.

“This will promote safety and respect on our highways, in our courtrooms, in our homes and even via our smartphones,” said the governor.


Among many changes, the law prohibits courts from requiring psychological or psychiatric examinations for victims of crime, which typically occurs in rape cases. Leavenworth County District Attorney Todd Thompson said it was an issue many victims were facing.

“Can you imagine being a victim, especially a child, having the courage to come forward and admit that they were perpetrated… most of the time by a family or loved one, or someone in? who they really trust… and when they do show up they are forced to have a psychological assessment? Neither the perpetrator nor the suspect, but them.

Todd Thompson, Leavenworth County District Attorney’s Office


The bill amends the definition of the crime of sexual violence to remove the element
requiring that the crime be committed against a victim “who is not the offender’s spouse”. Prior to the change, a spouse’s sexual battery was legal in the state.

The law also creates the crime of “sexual extortion,” which can also include vengeful pornography. A person could be on the sex offender list if found guilty.

A similar bill had already been introduced earlier this year, during the legislative session. His godfather, Hesston representative Stephen Owens, said he wanted the bill to be debated immediately. Owens pointed out that Kansas City freshman Aaron Coleman admitted avenging porn earlier in life as another reason to foot the bill earlier.

“I thought it was even more cautious that it was introduced this year early on in considering the person elected from Kansas City who actually has a track record of this type of activity,” Owens said. .


Another change concerns traffic violations, such as the flight or escape of a police officer.

Earlier this year, another lawmaker, former Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop, was charged with several offenses while driving under the influence, two of which include driving on the wrong side of the highway and run away from a policeman. A hearing is scheduled for the Wichita senator next month.

Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay reassured the public that the DUI case against Kansas Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop would be treated like any other violation.

“Absolutely, I think that’s what we need to do,” Kagay said. And that should be the expectations of the community we serve.

Senate Bill 60 increases penalty for fleeing or escaping a police officer by driving on the wrong side of the freeway, as well as other “avoidance maneuvers” up to a severity level of 7 . The offense was classified as a level 9 felony before the change.

The bill amends the penalty for the offense without a prior conviction to require that the
court to impose a fine of at least $ 500 when the driver operates a stolen motor vehicle during
the commission of the offense.


While some have said the changes are long overdue, some criminal defense lawyers are concerned about the future implications of other parts of the law.

One of the main concerns for Topeka criminal defense lawyer Meryl Allmond is that the law changes the definitions of the term used for “immediate result”.

Under permanent law, a crime is considered to have been committed in part within the framework of
state whether the immediate outcome of the person’s act occurs in the state. Allmond explained that the law would allow the use of state taxpayer dollars in the prosecution of crimes committed outside the state.

“A murder is committed in Hawaii, everything takes place in Hawaii, but the funeral is paid for by a relative who lives in Kansas, so there is a possibility that this murder will also be prosecuted in Kansas,” Allmond said.

Jennifer Roth of the Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers testified as an opponent of the bill, during the session, as she explained that the origin of the Attorney General’s proposal for this provision was in response to a Wyandotte County criminal case, State v. Rozell. The case involved two drivers, Rozell, who lived in Missouri, and another driver, whose car was insured by his father’s auto insurance policy in Wyandotte County.

Rozell made a claim against the insured’s policy, submitting a Missouri hospital bill to a claims agent in Tennessee. The Tennessee claims officer thought the bill looked suspicious and therefore referred it to another claims specialist, who lived in Sedgwick County. This person concluded that Rozell had changed the date of the hospital bill so that the insurance would pay him as part of the Missouri car accident claim.

Rozell was charged in Wyandotte County with two felonies: fabricating false information (KSA 21-5824) and insurance fraud (KSA 40-2 118). The complaint accused the insurance company of being the victim. Rozell argued that the Wyandotte County court lacked jurisdiction because, if he committed a crime, he did so in Missouri or Tennessee.


The prosecution argued, both in district court and on appeal, that KSA 21-5106 (b) means Kansas can sue anyone who attempts to defraud an insurance policy issued to a Kansas resident. because the “immediate outcome” occurs in Kansas.

Allmond said a premature decision to define the term “immediate outcome,” which has not been defined for more than 50 years in Kansas, could have unintended consequences for the legal process in the future.

“We don’t even know what it might end up doing, or how it might be interpreted. Once you go after someone, put them in our Kansas jails, we have to pay for that full cycle of incarceration. “

Changes to crime laws come as the state works on police reform. The head of state said that includes improving processes for Kansas law enforcement and victims of crime.

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