UPDATE: Kansas legislators hear death penalty measures

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas legislators have heard debate on proposals to abolish the state's death penalty law, hearing emotional pleas from families of murder victims not to reopen painful wounds from the past.

Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee also heard testimony Thursday from opponents to capital punishment who argued it is an inexact sentence that is costly for the state.

Kansas has had the death penalty since 1994 but has not carried out an execution since then. Currently, nine people are on death row.

State senators deadlocked 20-20 in 2010 over a similar death penalty bill.

A second bill to be considered shortens the appeals process in capital cases, limiting the time attorneys have to seek extensions from the court. Supporters say a defendant's rights would be protected.

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