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Issue Position: Strengthening Our Criminal Justice System

Issue Position

Location: Unknown

Government has no more crucial role than protecting the safety of its citizens. Reforming our criminal justice system to stiffen penalties against violent offenders and reduce recidivism is among my top priorities. As chairman of the House Judiciary Committee & vice-chairman of the House Corrections and Juvenile Justice Committee Judiciary Committee Rep. Kinzer a long record of strong support for policies that keep Kansans safe. In 2006 It was my great honor to be chosen to carry "Jessica's Law" on the floor of the Kansas House. This legislation provides a mandatory penalty of 25 years to life for first time child sex offenders. For more information on this important legislation look here:

In 2012 Rep. Kinzer carried numerous important criminal law bills on the House floor. Among them were HB 2465 which addresses a recent Kansas Supreme Court Opinion (State v. Jolly) in which the Court set aside the sentence of a man who had pled guilty to raping a 12 year old girl. In particular HB 2485 would reestablish the ability of the Trial Court to sentence such offenders to lifetime electronic monitoring after completion of their prison sentence. For more information with respect to this bill visit this link. Rep. Kinzer also carried HB 2613 which extends the period for which victims of stalking or domestic violence can receive protective orders for more information on this legislation look here.

In 2011 Rep. Kinzer introduced three bills which were drafted in conjunction with Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe to combat identity theft, home-improvement fraud and several other white-collar crimes.

"These bills help law-enforcement officers protect Kansans by giving them the tools necessary to capture and punish criminals who prey on victims using identity theft, home improvement crimes and other fraudulent acts," said District Attorney Howe. HB 2008, which became law, increased the penalty for identity theft or fraud from a non-person crime to a person felony with a corresponding increase in possible punishment. HB 2009 sought to establishes a distinct crime when contractors engage in fraud or theft in association with home improvement projects.

HB 2010, which became law, added identity theft, mistreatment of a dependent adult, writing a worthless check, forgery and use of a false financial card to the forfeiture statute. This gives law enforcement and prosecutors the ability to seize property gained from these criminal acts. "Identity theft is serious crime and must be treated as such," said Representative Kinzer. "It wreaks havoc in the lives of victims costing them significant amounts of time and money. The penalty for identity theft should match the severity of the crime."

In 2010 Rep. Kinzer's Bill, HB 2435, became law. It was introduced in response to two Kansas Supreme Court decisions that had the effect of reducing criminal sentences for sex offenders in Kansas . In May, 2009 in the case of State v. Horn the Kansas Supreme Court invalidated the imposition of enhanced sentences for individuals convicted of attempting to commit a sexually violent crime against a child. This decision was followed by an October, 2009 opinion in the case of State v. Trautloff in which the Court ruled that the Kansas habitual sex offender statute does not apply to individuals who were convicted of multiple sex offenses on the same day.

Horn was convicted of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy of a child under the age of 14 and was sentenced to a minimum 25 years under Jessica's law. The Kansas Supreme Court invalidated this sentence and required that Horn be re-sentenced under a more lenient general attempts statute. HB 2435 restores the clear intent of Jessica's law to impose significant mandatory minimum sentences for child sex offenders.

In 1996 Trautloff was convicted of rape of an 8 year old, aggravated indecent liberties with another 8 year old, and a further count of aggravated indecent liberties with a 9 year old. (One of the aggravated indecent liberties convictions was subsequently overturned). More than a decade latter Trautloff was convicted of rape, aggravated sodomy, aggravated indecent liberties with a child and sexual exploitation of a child all resulting from a scheme in which Trautloff paid for sex with a seven year old girl. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole under the Kansas habitual sex offender statute. The Kansas Supreme Court invalidated this sentence because the 1996 convictions had been adjudicated on the same day and as such, in the view of the Court, were not separate conviction events. HB 2435 makes it clear that this any person convicted of two or more sexually violent crimes is a habitual sex offender.

On April 11, 2008 Gov. Sebelius signed SB 477 into law. Rep. carried HB 477 on the House floor. This bill amended Kansas law to add electronic solicitation to the list of sexually violent crimes requiring post release registration pursuant to the Kansas Offender Registration Act. The Kansas Offender Registry is an online resource that alerts citizens to offenders living in their community. To view the Offender Registry please visit this link.

Rep. Kinzer also co-sponsored HB 2732, a bill that was passed and signed by the Governor. Under this bill judges are now prohibited from granting probation to people convicted of committing crimes of extreme sexual violence and restricts the ability of judges to reduce the prison time required by the Kansas sentencing guidelines for such crimes. The need for such reform in Kansas is evidenced by several recent cases. For example:

*Orlando Paul Cisneros, a 38-yearold Topeka man convicted by a jury of 17 counts of raping and sodomizing a 14-year-old girl, received a sentence of only a three-years probation.
*Probation was granted to Nicholas Lee Crites after he was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties against a 15-year-old girl. Sentencing guidelines called for a prison term of nearly five years.
*Federico Mendoza, a 34-year-old man convicted of electronic solicitation of a child was sentenced to only three-years of probation. HB 2332 passed the House but stalled in the Senate. As a member of the judiciary conference committee Rep. Kinzer pushed the Senate to include the provisions of HB 2732 in a new bill. At the end of the 2008 session the Senate agreed and passed a new bill HB 2707 that included these important new restrictions.

Rep. Kinzer's work to protect Kansas citizens has been recognized by the Kansas County and District Attorney's Association.

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