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Brownback Calls Special Session on "Hard 50" Sentencing

rotunda3The rotunda of the Kansas Capitol (Photo credit: Flickr user Franklin B. Thompson {kansasexplorer3128})

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Governor Sam Brownback has called a special session of the Kansas Legislature for September 3 to rewrite the state's "Hard 50" criminal sentencing law. Brownback made the announcement Friday, two days after Attorney General Derek Schmidt requested a special session. Schmidt's request had bipartisan support from prosecutors and legislators. The law allows judges to sentence some convicted murderers to life in prison, with no chance for parole for 50 years. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision raised questions about the law's constitutionality. The high court ruled last month in a Virginia case that juries must consider whether the facts in a case trigger mandatory minimum sentences. In Kansas, judges weigh the evidence. Schmidt says revising the Kansas law as quickly as possible will protect public safety.


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