March 12, 2014 |
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So they are asking for a special session to replace one unconstitutional sentencing statute with another unconstitutional sentencing statute (one that attempts to apply retroactively to crimes already committed)? Sounds like a good use of tax money. At least they'll also be adding to the cost of litigating these cases, which is also paid for by taxpayers.
Sounds too expensive, and really, I think we can spend money (we don't have) better. Sick of the special interests in KS! Lets pay more attention to the folks that don't break the law than the ones in jail!
If they use the special session to pass a law that is retroactive, and thus unconstitutional, then yes it can wait. If they use it to simply write a new Hard-50 statute that applies going forward, I don't have a problem with that. But let's be real here, no one who deserves a Hard-50 is getting out on their first few attempts at parole (if ever).
The retroactive effects of this proposal wouldn't be unconstitutional. It wouldn't increase the punishment for the crime or alter the definition of a crime.
I'm not sure how many of these cases are pending. If there are a number of them, then it is probably cheaper to fix the law now then have to spend the money litigating cases the state knows they are going to lose.
No. Retroactive application of a new Hard 50 statute would be unconstitutional. There is no more basic rule of criminal law than the law that the only sentencing statutes that apply are those that were in effect at the time of the commission of the crime. Precedent is quite clear on this, including in the state of Kansas where we went through a similar situation back in 2001-2002. Any attempt to enforce Hard 50 sentences against people whose crimes have already been committed will not work.
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