News Release

Reversal of Kansas court in sex offender case would weaken due process, circumvent criminal law

NACDL, NLADA, ACLU join in sex offender amicus effort 

Washington, DC (October 29, 2001) -- Weakening of due process requirements would allow states to circumvent criminal law with civil commitment, according to an amicus brief filed by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid and Defenders Association, and the American Civil Liberties Union in Kansas v. Crane, set for oral argument in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow.

The State of Kansas wants to lock up Michael Crane indefinitely because of his history as a sex offender, without proving that he lacks volitional control to prevent his re-offending. While Crane's own brief takes more of a historical approach, Jody Manier Kris, of Baker Botts, L.L.P., who wrote the brief on behalf of the three groups, argues from the perspective that it is dangerous to allow states to impose punishment without the due process requirements of criminal prosecutions.

This, in effect, would also be an ex post facto law, punishing Crane for actions prior to the law's passage, Kris says. 

Kris, an NACDL member, can be reached at (202)639-7700.

If you would like an electronic copy of the NACDL/NLADA/ACLU brief, you can request it by e-mail at

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NACDL Communications Department

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.