TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- The Kansas Supreme Court is considering whether a defendant's minimum 50-year sentence for premeditated first-degree murder should stand.
The court heard arguments Monday in the case of Matthew Astorga. It was the second appeal of a "Hard 50" sentence since legislators rewrote the law this fall in response to a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Kansas previously allowed judges to sentence people convicted of premeditated first-degree murder to 50 years before they can seek parole. But the nation's highest court ruled that juries should decide if a defendant gets that sentence.
Astorga was sentenced for a 2008 shooting death in Leavenworth County. His lawyers argue the changes made by the Legislature amount to creating a new crime and punishment and are unconstitutional.