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Lawyers Association of Kansas City 

Criminal Sentencing Bills Referred to the House Judiciary Committee

02 Feb 2017 10:03 AM | Anonymous

In two earlier posts we discussed various bills that were referred to the Judiciary Committee. Since that time there have been quite a few new bills referred to Judiciary so let’s take a look at a few of those now that relate to criminal sentencing.

HB 38 – Galen Higdon (R – Platte/Buchanan) has introduced this bill, which seeks to make two significant changes regarding criminal sentencing. Those changes would effect RSMo 558.019 in that the language requiring an offender to serve a certain portion of his/her sentence would now be discretionary instead of mandatory (“may be required to” instead of “shall be”). This bill also proposes to add the following section:

  1. (1) Any person, except for a person who was found guilty of first degree murder or of any sex offense under chapter 566, meeting the following qualifications shall be eligible for a parole hearing:

(a) There was no heinous motive involved in the crime;

(b) The person is capable of rehabilitation;

(c) The person has been a model prisoner;

(d) The crime did not involve physical harm or the threat of violence to another person; and

(e) The crime did not involve a firearm.

(2) For purposes of this subsection, "heinous" means any crime that is hateful or shockingly evil.

I doubt there is much interest on pushing a bill that gives a “soft on crime” impression.

HB 171 (same as HB 1622 last year) seeks to add five words (“at the time of adjudication”) to RSMo 589.405. Mike Kelley (R – Dade/Barton/Jasper/Cedar) wants to place a requirement on judges to tell sex offenders “at the time of adjudication” that they must register as sex offenders. The statute already requires that these offenders be told of the registration requirement at the time prior to their release and discharge.

I’ll admit that I do not understand why we would seek to add a requirement that can later be used by a sex offender to avoid responsibility for not registering on the sex offender list. Give Rep. Kelley a call and ask him why sex offenders must be told twice of their registration requirements.

Tim West, MO Legislative Monitor
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