Committee Hears Recommendations on Possible Changes to Missouri Criminal Code
JEFFERSON CITY - Recommendations from a public hearing in Jefferson City Tuesday may eventually result in changes to the state's criminal code.
A representative from the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services recommended two major changes to the state's criminal code, adding a fifth felony class and reassigning the crimes to the new criminal schedule.
The presenter said there is a huge gap between Felony Class B and Felony Class C. According to the current Missouri Criminal Code, the punishment on Felony Class B crimes is five to 15 years, and the punishment on Felony Class C crimes cannot exceed seven years. He said there should be another class between these two, where the punishment would be three to 10 years, to make the code more reasonable.
Sen. Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, said the state hasn't done a rewrite on Missouri's Criminal Code since the 1970s, but since then, the state has passed a lot of new criminal laws, a lot of new sentencing and punishments.
"I think it is important that we take a look ever now and again and make sure that we streamline the process and make sure it moderns up to date so that we have the most effective public safety tool that we can have," Justus said.
However, she also said it will be a difficult process.
"You have to find consensus between criminal defense lawyers and between prosecutors,which is never easy to do," said Justus. "And then there is also a lot of other groups involved."
There will be more public hearings later, and then the committee will draft a report to the legislature for the next session on January, 2013.
Although Justus said it is unknown if the rewrite passes or not, the goal is to at least get something passed in 2013.