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Kansas Attorneys Skeptical of AG’s ‘Hard 50’ Push

Associated Press - July 25, 2013 8:37 pm

A Kansas prosecutor says the death penalty "is on the table" in the case of two people who investigators say fled to Mexico as suspects in a triple homicide last October.

A Wichita defense attorney says he doesn’t see the need for a special session of the Kansas Legislature to consider rewriting the state’s “Hard 50” sentencing law.

Richard Ney was skeptical Thursday of Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s request that Gov. Sam Brownback call such a special session.

The law allows judges to sentence convicted murderers to serve at least 50 years of a life sentence before they’re eligible for parole. A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision raised questions about its constitutionality.

The “Hard 50” is an alternative to a sentence of life in prison with parole possible 25 years. Ney said changing the law quickly isn’t like to save “Hard 50” sentences on appeal.

Ney said even if those sentences are overturned, the defendant still faces life in prison.