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Douglas County District Attorney to appeal sentencing in rape conviction

Tuesday, November 1, 2022 - 12:13pm

LAWRENCE – Douglas County District Attorney Suzanne Valdez announced that the State will appeal the District Court’s decision Tuesday to grant probation to a Lawrence man convicted of rape. 

At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, Judge James Fleetwood suspended a 155-month prison sentence for Ray C. Atkins Jr., 23, who was convicted by a jury of raping a 17-year-old woman at a Lawrence residence. The court placed Atkins on five years of probation for the rape that occurred on or about July 19, 2019.

“Sentencing is left to the sole discretion of the judge, but Kansas law provides a narrow set of circumstances under which the State is authorized to appeal a district court’s rulings,” District Attorney Valdez said. “As I had announced in July regarding a case involving the court’s granting probation in a child sex conviction, the State is exercising its statutory right to seek a review of the sentencing decision in the interest of justice for sexual assault survivors and community safety.” 

At the sentencing hearing, Deputy District Attorney Joshua Seiden argued that the court should follow the presumption of imprisonment, but the court departed from that presumption. 

Media Contact

Cheryl Cadue | Public Information Officer