A special legislative committee will convene at the Statehouse Monday to start work on a fix for the so-called Hard 50 sentencing law, which allows judges to give harsher sentences to convicted murderers in certain cases. A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling raised questions about the law.
Under certain circumstances, judges can sentence convicted murderers to life in prison, without the possibility of parole for 50 years. But the Supreme Court recently said juries — not judges — must weigh in when it comes to increased sentences like that.
Senate Vice President Jeff King, a Republican from Independence, is on the special legislative committee. He says they’ll start with a proposed fix from Attorney General Derek Schmidt. It would have juries decide if convicted murderers deserve a Hard 50.
"We'll have a hearing on the proposal from the AG and the district attorneys. We'll take public comment, testimony on that, get the thoughts of the defense bar as well,” says King. “ And then the legislators will look over that proposal with a fine tooth comb."
King is confident that they can have a solution ready in time for the special session on September 3.