Kan. enhances penalties for crimes against police officers
The law enhances penalties for non-drug felonies against police if the officer is on duty or if the perpetrator knows the victim is an officer
TOPEKA, Kan. — Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed laws Friday increasing the penalties for attacking a law enforcement officer and requiring some police interrogations to be recorded.
Lawmakers in the House and Senate worked this week to pass the tougher penalties bill so that Brownback could sign it Friday in honor of Kansas Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Day. The House passed the bill 115-9 Tuesday. The Senate passed it 38-0 Wednesday.
The law enhances penalties for non-drug felonies against police officers if the officer is on duty or if the perpetrator knows the victim is a police officer. The measure also lowers sentences for some drug crimes.
Some lawmakers wanted the bill to include a broader hate crimes penalty. Brownback said it would be unlikely as the legislative session nears its end.
The videotaped interrogation measure had the backing of Floyd Bledsoe, who spent nearly 16 years in prison for a killing that his brother later admitted to committing. The law mandates recorded interrogations of suspects arrested for homicide or a felony sex offense.
Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the 1999 killing of Zetta Camille Arfmann. He was released in 2015 after a DNA test and suicide notes indicated that his brother, Tom Bledsoe, killed Arfmann.
Tom Bledsoe originally admitted to the crime but later recanted his confessions, which were not recorded. The blame then was pinned on Floyd Bledsoe, who told a legislative committee last year that he might not have been convicted if jurors would've been able to hear his brother confess and hear him maintaining his innocence. Some of Bledsoe's interrogations were recorded and others were not.