Bill would eliminate death sentence for people with mental illness

3 weeks 6 days 31 minutes ago Monday, April 29 2019 Apr 29, 2019 Monday, April 29, 2019 7:58:00 AM CDT April 29, 2019 in Top Stories
By: Shoshana Dubnow, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

JEFFERSON CITY -  A bill before the Missouri House of Representatives on Monday could eliminate the death sentence as a punishment for first-degree murder in the case of certain mental illnesses.

House Bill 353 says the following diagnoses could qualify someone to be exempt from receiving the death sentence:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Bipolar disorder, with psychotic features
  • Major depressive disorder, with psychotic features
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder

The bill says these conditions can significantly impair a person’s ability to “exercise rational judgement.”

Ric Doubet is a licensed professional counselor in Columbia. He said although he doesn’t support the death penalty himself, he also sees problems with the bill.

“This whole idea that we’re going to exonerate or reduce sentences for people because of mental illness, I think it has its merits,” Doubet said. “But it’s also got a lot of issues. Diagnosing is not a perfect science.”

Doubet said he often sees patients who have a variety of diagnoses from previous counselors. He said this subjectivity could make things more complex in court.

“When you start allowing people to be exonerated or to reduce their sentence based on someone’s subjective opinion, that can get crazy,” Doubet said. “It has all kinds of issues.”

Doubet previously worked as a psychotherapist in a prison. He said some individuals commit crimes in a moment of mental instability, but might not have a mental illness.

The bill specifies that the diagnosis of mental illness can be made before, on or after the person committed the offense.

The hearing is scheduled for noon on Monday.    

More News

Grid
List
ROCHEPORT – Severe flooding is happening across mid-Missouri and in Rocheport the flooding is leaving a finacial impact on businesses.... More >>
12 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 7:57:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Married couple and business partners Jennifer and Jeremy Hart are counting their blessings after the historic motel they... More >>
15 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 4:33:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting, many parents have only tepid confidence in school safety, according... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:16:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department released an official request for volunteers Saturday morning following Wednesday's EF-3 tornado.... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:56:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) spent his Saturday touring the path of destruction Wednesday's tornadoes left behind. Hawley... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:39:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is investigating two incidents of alleged looting involving three individuals Friday afternoon... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:18:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Neighbors in Jefferson City were already watching the Missouri River rise, but no one planned on an... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 11:42:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - According to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, water was over the runways at Jefferson City Airport in Callaway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 8:09:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Coverage From Callaway
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance companies will inspect and process claims for damaged homes over the weekend. Wednesday night's tornado badly... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:48:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A man involved in a car crash on I-70 May 16 has died from his injuries. William... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri River has completely overflowed its banks near the end of South Route N. near Ashland.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:16:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City is offering instructions on how to get rid of the debris created by Wednesday's tornado.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 5:08:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance agents are warning people hit by Wednesday's tornado to be careful about signing repair contracts. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 3:26:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Volunteers from all over Jefferson City are working to help those affected by the tornado. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 2:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Members from House of Refuge are keeping their faith after Wednesday's tornado completely destroyed their church. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
ROCHEPORT - The 11th annual Pedaler's Jamboree bike ride got a good start Friday, and Missouri River levels are falling.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:32:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Task Force 1 has deactivated from Jefferson City after an EF-3 tornado swept through the area... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 9:11:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 68°
9am 73°
10am 74°
11am 75°
12pm 77°