FRANKFORT—The Kentucky Supreme Court has denied a stay of an October ruling that allows sex offenders who were convicted before July 2006 to choose where they live without restrictions.
Kentucky probation and parole officers were enforcing restrictions despite the October ruling after Attorney General Jack Conway asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to suspend its ruling while he asks the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.
The Kentucky Department of Corrections made that decision on the advice of its own lawyers.
On Monday, the state Supreme Court, in a one-paragraph order, denied Conway's request for a stay.
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Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections, said sex offenders who were convicted before July 2006 will no longer have to comply with those living restrictions.
Allison Martin, a spokeswoman for Conway, said the office will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a stay.
"We will be filing a motion with the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay while it considers whether or not it will hear Kentucky's case," Martin said.
Conway's office decided to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case because there were federal questions involved in the Oct. 1 decision, officials said. In addition, various state supreme courts across the country have ruled differently on the issue of whether states can restrict where sex offenders live, Martin said.
On Oct. 1, the state Supreme Court ruled that a 2006 law that banned sex offenders from living near schools, parks and other places where children congregate was unconstitutional because lawmakers applied it retroactively. The court ruled that the restrictions should only apply to registered sex offenders who were convicted after July 2006.
The 2006 law meant that many sex offenders had to move. In urban areas, the restrictions made it virtually impossible for sex offenders to live downtown because of the density of day-care centers, playgrounds and schools.
Michael Baker, who entered a guilty plea to a third-degree rape charge in March 1995 in Kenton County, challenged the new law on several fronts and asked the court to dismiss charges that he violated the 2006 law. Kenton County District Court sided with Baker. That decision was then appealed to the Kentucky Supreme Court.
Conway has until Dec. 30 to file a writ of certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court will then decide whether it will hear the case.