The following case summaries are provided by Stacey L. Schlimmer. For complete case opinions visit kscourts.org. All cases are individual and in no way do these cases reflect every case.
§9 KANSAS CONSTITUTION CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT JESSICA’S LAW
21-4643(a)(1)(B) (rape) previously passed §9 constitutional scrutiny in State v. Seward, 296 Kan. 979 (2013). However, in determining whether a sentence is cruel and unusual, the court must make legal and factual inquiries that have been controlled by a three-part test outlined in State v. Freeman, 223 Kan. 362 (1978). No single prong of the test is controlling, but consideration should be given to each prong:
1) The nature of the offense and the character of the offender should be examined with particular regard to the degree of danger present to society; relevant to the inquiry are the facts of the crime, the violent or nonviolent nature of the offense, the extent of culpability for the injury resulting, and the penological purposes of the prescribed punishment;
2) A comparison of the punishment with punishments imposed in this jurisdiction for more serious offenses, and if among them are found more serious crimes punished less severely than the offense in question the challenged penalty is to that extent suspect; and,
3) A comparison of the penalty with punishments in other jurisdictions for the same offense.
Prongs two and three are based on legal determinations and have already been determined to withstand scrutiny. The first prong requires a factual determination. In this case, the victim suffered both physically and emotionally and was a vulnerable victim under the care of the defendant. Those factors outweighed the defendant’s bad childhood, bipolar disorder and encounters with childhood sexual abuse himself.