Kansas Supreme Court Sets Aside ‘Hard 50′ Sentence
Associated Press - April 11, 2014 11:33 am
Kansas Supreme Court decisions overturning two brothers' death sentences for a robbery, rape and killing spree in Wichita are likely to fuel another push by conservative Republicans to change how the justices are picked.
The Kansas Supreme Court has reversed the “Hard 50″ murder sentence of a Wichita man but refused to rule whether changes made by legislators to the law in 2013 can be applied.
Justices ruled Friday that the sentence for Rogelio Soto in a 2009 stabbing must be vacated because his rights were violated when a judge, rather than a jury, sentenced him to 50 years in prison with no possibility of parole.
The case is the first to be decided after a June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found juries, not judges, must impose a maximum minimum sentence such as the “Hard 50.”
Kansas legislators who rewrote the law argued those changes should be applied only on pending “Hard 50″ cases and those on appeal.