Kansas 'Hard 50' cases back before Supreme Court

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Attorneys will go before the Kansas Supreme Court next week to argue cases related to the state's "Hard 50" prison sentence and whether changes made to the law by legislators in September can be applied retroactively.

Legislators rewrote the law during a two-day special session in response to a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving the imposing of mandatory minimum sentences in criminal cases. The justices ruled that juries must weigh aggravating and mitigating circumstances when such sentences are being determined.

In doing so the court sent back to Kansas the case of Matthew Astorga, who was convicted of premeditated first-degree murder in the shooting of another man in Leavenworth the day after Christmas 2008. The case goes before the Kansas Supreme Court on Monday.

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