Kansas Supreme Court Rules Death Penalty Unconstitutional

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The Kansas Supreme Court Friday struck down the state's 1994 death penalty. The law was ruled unconstitutional in a four-to-three decision, on an appeal filed by a Wichita man.

The decision is not a broad indictment of capital punishment. Rather it points out a technical error in the law the state Legislature could fix during its 2005 session.

The ruling said the death penalty is unconstitutional because of the provision that a tie goes to the state when juries weigh aggravating and mitigating factors in determining a sentence.

No one has been executed since the Kansas law took effect in 1994. There are now three men sentenced to death.

The court first identified the problem in 2001 in an appeal filed by Gary Kleypas. His conviction was upheld, but the court ordered him and three others re-sentenced.