BY THE COURT
legislature intended the Kansas Offender Registration Act
(KORA) to be civil and nonpunitive for all classes of
Because the legislature intended KORA to be a regulatory
scheme that is civil and nonpunitive, only the clearest proof
will suffice to override legislative intent and transform
what has been denominated a civil remedy into a criminal
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished
opinion filed August 22, 2014.
from Reno District Court; Joseph L. McCarville III, judge.
Patrick H. Dunn and Adam D. Stolte, of Kansas Appellate
Defender Office, were on the briefs for appellant.
E. Schroeder, district attorney, and Derek Schmidt, attorney
general, were on the brief for appellee.
H. Watkins was convicted of aggravated assault on a law
enforcement officer, felony fleeing and eluding, and driving
while suspended. He was required to register under the Kansas
Offender Registration Act, K.S.A. 22-4901 et seq.,
based on the district court's finding that he used a
deadly weapon in the commission of the offenses. Watkins
presents two arguments on appeal: (1) because the
registration requirements constitute an increased penalty for
his offenses, the requirements could not be imposed based on
the judicial factfindings under Apprendi v. New
Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435
(2000), and (2) the court erred by imposing an increased
sentence based on his criminal history, which was not proved
to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.
persuasiveness of Watkins' deadly-weapon-finding
Apprendi claim turn on whether KORA's
requirements constitute punishment for his underlying
aggravated assault on a law enforcement crime. We have
rejected similar claims and do so again in this case. See
State v. Meredith, 306 Kan.___, ___P.3d ___ (No.
110, 520, filed August 4, 2017), slip op. at 10; State v.
Huey, 306 Kan. ___, ___ P.3d ___ (No. 109, 690, filed
August 11, 2017), slip op. at 8. We reject Watkins'
criminal-history Apprendi claim as we have
repeatedly done in many other cases. See, e.g.,
State v. Johnson, 304 Kan. 924, 956, 376 P.3d 70
(2016); State v. Ivory, 273 Kan. 44, 45-48, 41 P.3d
781 (2002). We will not address that issue further in this
and Procedural Background
pleaded no contest to aggravated assault on a law enforcement
officer, a level 6 person felony; fleeing and eluding, a
level 9 nonperson felony; and driving while suspended, a
class B misdemeanor. The district court sentenced him to 37
months' imprisonment and 24 months' postrelease
supervision. The court further ordered Watkins to register
under KORA because it found he used a truck as a deadly
weapon in the commission of the aggravated assault. Watkins
first time on appeal, Watkins argued the registration
requirements violated his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights because the predicate deadly weapon finding was not
submitted to a jury and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. And
he asserted the same error regarding the district court's
use of his criminal history at sentencing. Watkins
acknowledged he did not raise these issues to the district
court. He nonetheless argued both arguments could be brought
for the first time on appeal because they turn on a legal
question, citing State v. Anthony, 273 Kan. 726,
727, 45 P.3d 852 (2002).
Court of Appeals addressed his arguments on the merits
because doing so was "'necessary to serve the ends
of justice or to prevent the denial of fundamental
rights'" State v. Watkins, No. 110, 702,
2014 WL 4231269, at *1 (Kan. App. 2014) (unpublished opinion)
(citing State v. Tague, 296 Kan. 993, 1000, 298 P.3d
273  [listing three exceptions to the general
prohibition of arguments ...