A Parsons man received probation rather than prison for failing to register as a sex offender in Kansas.
Calvin W. Buford, 53, 33 Birch, pleaded no contest to violation of the Kansas Offender Registration Act with prior convictions. The charge is a level three felony. He had faced three similar counts as well as driving-related offenses and a marijuana possession charge. Those were dismissed as part of the plea. Attorneys also agreed to recommend probation for Buford based in part on his misunderstanding of the registration laws from state to state.
Parsons police arrested Buford on Aug. 3, 2022, after a traffic stop. He had not registered as a sex offender in Kansas but was required to register for life for a Florida conviction for attempted sexual battery by an adult of a victim under age 12 and for lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under age 16.
He received a prison term in Florida in the case and was released in November 2011, according to the Florida Department of Corrections web page. After Florida, Buford moved to Georgia and was convicted in 2014 of failing to register as a sex offender. He moved to New York after that and was convicted of failing to register in 2019. His last conviction before moving to Labette County was a misdemeanor for menacing in the second degree with a weapon in Kingston, New York, in 2021, according to his public criminal history worksheet filed in the case.
Florida requires those convicted of crimes similar to Buford’s to register for life, but Buford thought the law at the time of his conviction was a shorter term of registration. His attorney Linus Thuston said the Florida law changed after Buford’s conviction, but he didn’t know if Buford was still registering in Florida as a sex offender at the time of the change to lifetime registration.
Buford thought his conviction for failing to register in New York covered him in that state and that he would not have to register again, he testified.
The Kansas Offender Registration Act requires him to register and Judge Steve A. Stockard noted that convictions for failing to register actually enhance the length of time that a person has to register.
Buford and Thuston asked for probation instead of prison. State law requires a minimum of 4.5 years in prison term for the felony level of Buford’s conviction. Buford’s criminal history pushed that sentence to 102 months, or 8.5 years. Deputy County Attorney Alan Brereton agreed with the recommendation for probation.
In Parsons, Buford testified he worked at Ruskin Manufacturing. An issue with a neighbor over a shoe apparently brought police into his life and they discovered that he was not registered as a sex offender.
Stockard asked Brereton to give him compelling reasons to allow probation. Brereton said Buford planned on relocating to Florida if allowed to transfer probation there. He said the crime wasn’t one of violence and he thought this was a fair and equitable resolution. The confusing registration laws from state to state was another factor he mentioned.
Thuston argued that his client thought he didn’t have to register in Kansas.
Stockard ruled that he found compelling reasons to grant Buford probation but warned him that his failure to register has to stop. He must follow registration laws. He sentenced Buford to 102 months in prison, suspended that and assigned him to probation through community corrections for three years. He will get credit for time served in jail since Aug. 10, 2022. He ordered Buford to pay court costs, attorney fees of $650 and complete 40 hours of community service during probation.
In other cases:
— Alexander J. Houghton, 29, was credited for 15 days served in jail for violating the terms of his probation for possession of methamphetamine in a 2017 case. His probation was then terminated and he was to be released from jail Thursday. Houghton tested positive for illegal drugs in September 2022. Houghton was approaching five years on probation (coming in April), which is the limit for probation in Kansas except under specific circumstances. Judge Stockard had concerns that Houghton was still struggling with addiction and needed further drug treatment. He noted that Houghton’s probation had been revoked three times. But Stockard didn’t want to send Houghton to prison so agreed to terminate probation.
— Chadley S. Cruse, 39, waived his right to a preliminary hearing this week on charges of possession of methamphetamine, interference with a law officer, both felonies, and possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor. He will return to court on April 20.
— William Carl Morris, 37, pleaded no contest to making a false claim against the Medicaid program, a misdemeanor. He received a year in jail, which was suspended, and probation for a year. He is to pay $1,276.95 in restitution to the Kansas Medicaid program. The case was originally a felony and reduced to a misdemeanor in the plea.
— Joseph A. Roe, 73, of Parsons pleaded to two counts of felony driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. He received $5,000 in fines and a year in jail. He must serve 48 hours in jail and the remaining time was suspended. He also received probation for a year. Roe had served 181 days in jail while the cases were pending and credit for that applied toward his mandatory house arrest periods in the cases. Judge Fred W. Johnson told Roe, “you can’t drive anymore.”
— Vernell E. Golston Jr., 41, received 31 months in prison for attempted possession of meth, a felony. He received credit for 192 days served in jail while his case was pending. Golston has a criminal history score of A, the highest in Kansas (three or more person felonies on his record), which means any felony conviction can land him in prison.
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