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Kansas Lawmakers to Rewrite 'Hard 50' Law: Members of the Kansas Senate will vote today on changes being made to the state's 'Hard 50' law; a state law that automatically imposes a 50-year sentence on convicted murderers with aggravating circumstances.  John Milburn of the Associated Press reports that the push to amend the law came after the Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Virginia and ruled that only a jury, not a judge, should be able to hand down such a strict sentence.  Some of the aggravating circumstances that could lead to a 'Hard 50' sentence include prior felony convictions, murder for hire, and murder to avoid arrest or prosecution. 

Lawyers in Aurora Massacre Want DP Ruled Unconstitutional: Lawyers for James Holmes, the man accused in the Aurora movie theater murders, filed several motions in an effort to have Colorado's death penalty law ruled as unconstitutional.  Greg Campbell of the Daily Caller News reports that a total of 21 motions were filed by Holmes' defense team yesterday, including a request that would require jury members to visit death row and an execution chamber prior to sentencing.  The trial is set to begin early next year. 

Marijuana Use in America on the Rise: A nationwide survey, involving 70,000 people 12 and older, has revealed that more Americans are using marijuana.  Donna Leinwand Leger of USA Today reports that marijuana use has been steadily increasing over the past five years, and the number could increase even more now that states are beginning to legalize the drug.  Just last week, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would no longer prosecute marijuana users in the 20 states that have legalized small amounts of medical and recreational marijuana.   

Cleveland Kidnapper Found Dead in Jail Cell: Ariel Castro, the man convicted of kidnapping three Ohio women and holding them captive for almost a decade, was found dead in his cell last night after what authorities believe to be a suicide.  Fox News reports that corrections officers found Castro hanging in his cell and attempted 'life-saving measures' before he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.  Due to the high-profile nature of his case, Castro was being kept in protective custody and was checked on by officers every thirty minutes.

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