As Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline prepares to defend our state’s death penalty before the U.S. Supreme Court next month, an ongoing prosecution by his re-election opponent illustrates another of the law’s flaws: its seemingly uneven application. Although the 2002 murder of 19-year-old Ali Kemp at a Leawood swimming pool was “incredibly heinous,” Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison said this week, it doesn’t meet the “aggravating factors” criteria for the death penalty in Kansas. So if Benjamin Appleby is convicted, his maximum sentence would be life. When the death penalty is and isn’t applied may make sense in a court of law, but it clearly doesn’t pass the commonsense test among Kansans or victims’ survivors. Roger Kemp, the victim’s father, said: “If the Kansas laws don’t protect their innocent women and children, what good are they?”
Posted by Rhonda Holman
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