death penalty

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Two former Kansas attorneys general, a Democrat and a Republican, say Kansas Supreme Court justices should keep their jobs. Five justices face retention elections this November.

The two former politicians have joined a campaign by the group Kansans for Fair Courts.

Former Attorneys General Bob Stephan and Steve Six say the Kansas justices have been fair and impartial in their rulings. They say a very small number of the court’s decision have been overturned on appeal, which shows the justices are doing good work.

The first TV spot has landed in the contentious battle to retain four Kansas Supreme Court justices in the November Election. The ad was paid for by Kansans for Fair Courts, the group backing retention.

The 30-second spot starts airing in the Wichita market on Friday. It takes on the two biggest issues Republicans and other conservatives are using against four of the five justices on the ballot: the death penalty and school finance.

The ad also tries to tie the ouster of the justices to Gov. Sam Brownback.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

A bipartisan group of four former Kansas governors are campaigning on for the state’s Supreme Court justices--five of whom are are facing retention elections this fall.

The governors are on a two-day tour organized by Kansans for Fair Courts, a group campaigning on behalf of the targeted justices; judges' political activity is severely restricted. The four appeared at the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce before moving on to Topeka for a similar event; they're headed to Wichita next.

Kansas Republicans voted Saturday to leave support for the death penalty out of their party platform. It was the most contentious of the issues Republicans took up at their state convention in Topeka in anticipation of this year’s elections, which will decide the fate of all 125 House seats and 40 Senate seats in the state legislature.

Jim McClean

A bipartisan group of Kansas legislators is attempting to repeal the state’s death penalty. They say they’re building support among rank and file lawmakers but having trouble overcoming opposition from legislative leaders.

The lawmakers sponsoring the repeal bill say the death penalty is ineffective, wasteful and unjust.

Ken Piorkowski, flickr Creative Commons

Some lawmakers say efforts to repeal the Kansas death penalty may be stymied by the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding three Kansas death sentences.

A bill repealing the death penalty in Kansas was introduced Friday in the House. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the measure would prohibit death sentences for any crimes committed after July 1.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Opponents of the death penalty in Kansas are hoping the pope’s words can spur some action on the issue. Pope Francis called for ending capital punishment during a speech before a joint session of Congress Thursday.

Mary Sloan, with the Kansas Coalition Against the Death Penalty, had hoped Pope Francis would talk about the issue during his visit to the U.S., and she’s especially pleased it came during his high-profile speech.

James Duncan Davidson / Wikimedia Commons / Creative Commons

Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Ala., a private, nonprofit human rights organization, helping the poor, the incarcerated, the condemned and children. He is also professor of law at New York University School of Law and received the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant, and also won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color.

Rennett Stowe / Flickr

The State of Kansas hasn’t executed an inmate since 1965, despite capital punishment being legal in the state and nine men currently sitting on death row. This story takes a look at why that is, as well as the story of Curtis McCarty, an Oklahoma man who was exonerated after spending 21 years in prison, the majority of those years on death row. He spoke about his life in prison at Wichita State University last week.

Stephen Koranda

  The Kansas House has rejected a bill that would have sped up death penalty appeals.

Some House members say they oppose the bill because they believe the courts should control the speed of the cases.

Buhler Representative Steven Becker opposes the bill because the death penalty measure has not gone through the normal process of committee review and a hearing before the full House.

"I think a bill of that magnitude needs to go through all the proper channels to make sure we all have a voice in it," Becker says. 

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