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Kansas Supreme Court Vacates 2 ‘Hard 50’ Sentences

Associated Press - May 23, 2014 1:54 pm

The Kansas Supreme Court is considering a rule that would require records related to the selection of nominees for the high court and other judgeships to be made public.

Two more “Hard 50” prison sentences have been vacated by the Kansas Supreme Court and sent back to the lower courts, including one that was at the heart of a 2013 legislative special session.

The rulings issued Friday by the court dealt only with whether the prison sentences of Matthew Astorga and Joaquin DeAnda were constitutional. The prison terms were for life without possibility of parole for 50 years.

Both convictions were for murder, one in Finney County and the other in Leavenworth.

In both cases, the court says the men must be resentenced because their prison terms were decided by a judge not a jury, a process deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013 in an unrelated case from Virginia.

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