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Kansas Supreme Court rules death penalty law unconstitutional

[JURIST] The Kansas Supreme Court ruled in a 4-3 vote Friday that the state's 1994 death penalty law is unconstitutional. The court's ruling focused on a provision stating that when juries weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in determining a sentence, a tie goes to the state. The decision does not indict the death penalty itself, but rather focuses on the technical flaw which could be fixed in the 2005 session of the state legislature. The ruling was made on an appeal from Michael Marsh II, accused of setting a house fire that killed a mother and her child; he and six other inmates on death row will now be resentenced. Read the Supreme Court opinion here. AP has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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