The Kansas House has unanimously passed a proposed fix for the state's Hard 50 sentencing law. The law allows judges to sentence certain convicted murderers to at least 50 years in prison before the possibility for parole.
The House's proposed revision would change the process so that juries also play a part in doling out Hard 50 sentences. Rep. Lance Kinzer, a Republican from Olathe, said the fix will help preserve the intent of legislators who originally passed the bill.
A Kansas legislative committee is recommending a bill to amend the state's so-called Hard 50 sentencing law. The changes would allow juries to decide if convicted murderers deserve 50 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Under the old system, judges would decide if a crime warranted the harsher sentence of 50 years without parole. But the U.S. Supreme Court recently said judges can't make those decisions.
The bill would also apply some changes retroactively to past crimes. Some attorneys told the committee that it would be unconstitutional to do that.
A special legislative committee will convene at the Statehouse Monday to start work on a fix for the so-called Hard 50 sentencing law, which allows judges to give harsher sentences to convicted murderers in certain cases. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the law.
Under certain circumstances, judges can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But the Supreme Court recently said juries — not judges — must weigh in when it comes to increased sentences like that.