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On tap, debates over Kansas prison sentences, space

KSAL Staff - December 25, 2013 6:19 pm

Kansas legislators are expected to reopen debate of the state’s “Hard 50” prison-sentence law with a proposal to make it the default punishment for premeditated first-degree murder.

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce is writing a bill to make the change.

The current default is life without parole for at least 25 years for such crimes, though prosecutors can seek 50-year sentences in certain circumstances.

The debate follows September’s special session in which legislators rewrote the “Hard 50” law to comply with a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court’s ruling said juries, not judges, could determine whether a defendant should receive an upward sentence for such crimes.