Schmidt acknowledges ‘Hard 50’ may not fully work

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Letter from Attorney General

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt acknowledges that a quick rewriting of the state’s “Hard 50” law may not allow the tough sentence in pending cases but argues legislators still should have a special session.

Schmidt said Thursday that Kansas will be in a better legal position in pending cases if lawmakers don’t wait until their next annual session in January to respond to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision.

The attorney general asked Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday to call a special session.

The Kansas law allows judges to sentence people convicted of first-degree murder to a minimum of 50 years in prison before they can seek parole. The nation’s highest court ruled last month that juries, not judges, must have the final say on facts triggering mandatory minimum sentences.

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