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KS Committee Meets Monday to Work on Hard 50 Law

Statehouse Flickr photo by Jimmy Emerson(Flickr Photo by Jimmy Emerson)

A Kansas legislative committee will meet next week to look for ways to fix the state’s so-called Hard 50 sentencing law. The law allows judges to sentence convicted murderers to life in prison without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the legality of the process. Representative Lance Kinzer, a Republican from Olathe, heads the committee. He says they’ll use a proposed change from Attorney General Derek Schmidt as a starting point in Monday’s hearing.


The basic sentence for first-degree murder in Kansas is life in prison, with parole possible after 25 years.  The Kansas Hard 50 law allows judges to add to that sentence, but the Supreme Court says juries must be allowed to decide whether an enhanced sentence should be given.

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A Kansas legislative committee will 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.


Lawmakers will have the option to amend the plan or propose different solutions. The basic sentence for first-degree murder in Kansas is life with parole possible after 25 years. The Supreme Court says that juries must be able to weigh in on enhanced sentences like a Hard 50, rather than leaving the decision solely in the hands of judges. 

 

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