Topeka A panel of the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the state must show a reason before it limits the number of vendors from which residents committed as sexual predators can purchase products.
The decision sends the case back to a lower court for further proceedings.
The dispute stems from a 2011 decision by the Kansas Sexual Predator Treatment Program to limit involuntarily committed residents' ability to purchase consumable items and hygiene products to only three vendors.
Sixty-seven members of the program challenged the program's decision, saying it was an "unlawful restraint" and that they received no written notice or hearing to show reason for the restricted vendor policy. The state-run sexual predator treatment program provides treatment for sex offenders who have completed their prison sentences but have been determined by the courts to be sexual predators in need of involuntary treatment.
The state claimed it has the right to establish rules necessary to maintain safety and security, and the court should defer to its professional judgment. The district court decided the residents were not entitled to relief.
But the appeals panel said the district court erred in dismissing their petition without requiring state officials to provide a treatment or security-related reason for the restricted vendor policy.