BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (CN) – A man who was denied youth-offender status while being prosecuted for rape claims the State of Alabama unconstitutionally took away his child, whom he had with his wife after he had served his time, married, and became a productive citizen.
James Antoine Johnson sued the Sheriff of Jefferson County and State of Alabama, claiming the Alabama Legislature’s Oct. 1, 2005 amendments to Chapter 13A of its State Code are unconstitutional.
According to Johnson’s federal complaint, he was denied youth offender status after being arrested in March 1998 and charged with rape. He pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse in February 1999 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Johnson says he was released from prison in September 2000 and married his wife in March 2004. She gave birth to their son in June 2005. Johnson says he has lived at his home, with his wife, before and after the birth, and that he has been gainfully employed since he left prison.
He says that in June this year, the sheriff and state informed him they would take his child away because he is not allowed to live with the boy, due to Johnson’s status as a sex offender.
Johnson says the law, and/or the defendants’ interpretation of it, is unconstitutional.
He is represented by John Robbins.