After losing in the state Supreme Court, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether Kentucky's sex offender residency restrictions may be applied retroactively. You may view the petition for a writ of certiorari here. In an October 2009 opinion, the state Supreme Court ruled 5-2 that the law could not be applied retroactively without running afoul of state and federal constitutional prohibitions on ex post facto laws. You may view that opinion here. The decision is Commonwealth v. Baker, 295 S.W.3d 437 (Ky. 2009). From the Courier-Journal:
The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 5-2 in October that the statute was improperly imposed on people convicted before the law went into effect because both the U.S. and Kentucky constitutions prohibit laws that impose or increase punishment on criminal acts committed before the law's enactment.
Conway's office filed a petition Wednesday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The court receives about 10,000 requests a year to review cases and decides only about 80. But the question of the retroactive application of sex-offender laws has arisen in several states, making it more likely that the high court will accept the case.
The 2006 statute subjected all convicted sex offenders to the residency requirements, while the old law applied only to about 1,200 offenders who were on probation or parole.
The Courier-Journal has reported that there were about 5,800 registered sex offenders when the law went into effect, although some of them may no longer be required to register.
Victims' advocates said they were disappointed with the state Supreme Court's ruling.
But experts said research has shown that sex-offender registries and residency restrictions don't deter future crimes. And some criminal justice officials said Kentucky's law makes it so difficult for some offenders to find a place to live that they stop reporting their addresses to authorities.