Because of Jessica’s Law in the state of Kansas, a child molester received the maximum sentence with no chance at parole. Vernie Burns age 42 was convicted in November 2008 on two counts of criminal sodomy and two counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. He committed these crimes against three victims at their home in Kansas City, Kansas. In addition, he had a prior record of child molesting in Missouri. Missouri has a tougher Jessica’s Law and the court in Kansas agreed to the “hard 40” sentence.
Jessica’s Law is named after Jessica Lunsford a young Florida girl who was raped and murdered in February 2005 by John Couey. He was previously convicted as a sex offender but was out of jail at the time. Due to public outrage over this case, Florida officials introduced legislation that provides for mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring of adults convicted of lewd or lascivious acts against a victim less than 12 years old. In Florida, sexual battery or rape of a child less than twelve years old is punishable only by life imprisonment with no chance of parole.
At least the state of Kansas is looking out for their kids. However, in Oklahoma, Judge Thomas Bartheld, the attorney general and the DA agreed to let a known convicted felon David Earls pled to no contest to raping a 5 year old girl. The plea deal gave this child molester only one year in prison. Earls is scheduled to be released in a couple of months. Even though Oklahoma passed Jessica’s Law last year, the legal system somehow went around the law for this convicted felon.