A Kansas legislative committee has finished work on a proposal to amend the state’s so-called Hard 50 sentencing law. The change would allow juries to decide if convicted murderers deserve an enhanced sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for 50 years. The standard sentence for first-degree murder requires serving 25 years without parole. The suggested bill will be introduced when a special session convenes next week. Representative Lance Kinzer, a Republican from Olathe, heads the committee.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that juries must weigh in when sentences are increased like under the Hard 50 law. Previously in Kansas, judges decided when a Hard 50 sentence was appropriate. Governor Sam Brownback called the special legislative session to fix the state law.
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, Kansas 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. As KPR’s Stephen Koranda reports, there are still some questions surrounding the proposed fix.