While being escorted from a Kansas courtroom in 1996, Patrick Lynn, who was convicted of rape for the third time in a third state, shouted, “You ain't seen the last of me.” The Kansas City Star says a new Kansas Supreme Court ruling could make that return a reality, not just for Lynn, but for more than 200 violent career criminals who could see their prison sentences cut dramatically. Prosecutors across Kansas say it could have a potentially devastating effect on public safety.
“It's very disappointing,” said Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe. “In all likelihood, it will benefit some really horribly dangerous inmates.” Friday's ruling helps inmates who had prior felony convictions in states outside Kansas. Authorities estimate that about 235 inmates could benefit, said Scott Schultz of the Kansas Sentencing Commission. At issue is how a defendant's prior felony convictions are classified under state sentencing guidelines in place since July 1, 1993.