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Kansas v. Hendricks

Kansas Law Applied To Hendricks

One of the first people to be committed under the Kansas law was Leroy Hendricks. In 1984, Hendricks, a pedophile, was convicted of sexually abusing two 13-year-old boys. This was his sixth conviction for sexually abusing children. After serving 10 years of his sentence, Hendricks was scheduled to be released from prison. Before his release, however, the state sought to have Hendricks committed as a sexually violent predator under the newly enacted law. The jury unanimously found that Hendricks was a sexually violent predator, and the court determined that Hendricks's pedophilia was a "mental abnormality" covered by the law. Accordingly, the state court committed Hendricks to a mental institution.

Hendricks appealed to the Kansas Supreme Court. He argued that the Kansas law violated his right to "substantive" due process of law. He also argued that the law actually imposed a criminal penalty, and was thus unconstitutional under the Ex Post Facto and Double Jeopardy Clauses of the Constitution. The Kansas Supreme Court did not address the ex post facto or double jeopardy arguments, but did find that the law violated Hendricks's right to due process of law. The state appealed the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1995 to PresentKansas v. Hendricks - Significance, Kansas Law Applied To Hendricks, Court Upholds Law, Further Readings