Support of efforts to repeal the death penalty looked favorable for this year’s legislative session until the U.S Supreme Court reversed a Kansas Supreme Court ruling in January and upheld the death sentences of Jonathan and Reginald Carr, a case that seems to get the pro-death penalty folks raring to strap someone to the chair and pull the lever.
A bi-partisan group of Kansas legislators attempting to repeal the state’s death penalty said they’ve been building support for a bill among rank-and-file lawmakers. There we 17 co-sponsors on the bill introduced in this session. Now, after the Carr ruling, the group says they’re having trouble overcoming opposition from legislative leaders.
The bill prohibits death sentence for any crimes committed after July 1 and creates a new crime of “aggravated murder” punishable by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Kansas reinstated the death penalty in 1994, and since then several people have been sentenced to death. But, so far, none have been executed because the Kansas Supreme Court had consistently overturned or vacated their sentences, usually on technical procedural grounds.
Even though the new bill isn’t retroactive, the infamous Carr Brothers seem to be having an impact on getting any action on the bill this year.