A 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 legislative committee is expected to meet Monday to begin work on modifying the state's so-called Hard 50 sentencing law.
A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about whether the law could stand as-is. The Kansas law allows judges to sentence convicted murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. The committee is headed by Representative Lance Kinzer, a Republican from Olathe. Kinzer says the committee will hold a public hearing on a fix proposed by Attorney General Derek Schmidt.
The Kansas Legislature will hold a special session starting September 3rd to address the “Hard 50” law that allows judges to sentence convicted murderers to serve at least 50 years in prison. A recent Supreme Court case said a jury needs to be part of those decisions.