Hard to imagine this happened in such a red state, but the Kansas Supreme Court just struck down the state’s death penalty law in a 4-3 decision.
The Kansas death penalty law is unconstitutional because it favors the state over defendant, the state’s Supreme Court ruled today.
The decision came in the Wichita case of Michael Marsh, convicted of killing Marry Ane Pusch and her 19-month-old daughter, Marry Elizabeth in 1996.
“The death penalty is gone,” said Rebecca Woodman, the Topeka appellate defender who argued Marsh’s case before the court.
Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston said she would appeal the state’s decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“This is an enormously significant decision that, unless overturned by the United States Supreme Court, will invalidate every death sentence given in Kansas,” Foulston said in a prepared statement.
The decision isn’t a sweeping indictment of capital punishment but rather the manner of how it is decided in Kansas. It addresses the wording of the law the state Legislature chose in 1994.
The error, the court said, told jurors to impose the death penalty when the reasons given by the state for capital punishment equaled the arguments against it.
Under the law, a tie requires death.