SB 280 Modifies the punishment scheme for juvenile offenders of first degree murder and provides a petition process for juvenile offenders currently serving life without parole
Sponsor: Keaveny
LR Number: 1524S.01I Fiscal Notes
Committee: Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action: 2/24/2015 - Hearing Conducted S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Journal Page:
Title: Calendar Position:
Effective Date: Varies

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Current Bill Summary

SB 280 - This act modifies provisions relating to sentencing for first degree murder.

PUNISHMENT FOR FIRST DEGREE MURDER - 556.061, 565.020, & 565.033

This act adds first degree murder to the definition of "dangerous felony".

Under current law, offenders who were under the age of 18 at the time they committed first degree murder must be sentenced to life imprisonment without eligibility for probation, parole, or conditional release. In June of 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama held that mandatory life sentences without parole for juvenile criminal offenders are unconstitutional. As a result, there is no punishment for first degree murder under current law in Missouri that is enforceable against those who committed murder before they turned 18.

This act repeals the mandatory life sentence found to be unconstitutional in Miller v. Alabama. This act modifies the punishment for juvenile offenders of first degree murder to allow a sentence of at least 14 years and no more than 30 years for a person who was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the offense and a sentence of at least 12 years and no more than 30 years for a person who was under the age of 16.

This act provides that the jury, or judge in a jury-waived trial, must consider certain specified factors relating to the defendant or the murder when assessing punishment for a person who was under 18 years old at the time of the first degree murder. Also, provided is a list of factors the court may consider when resentencing a defendant who was convicted and sentenced prior to the effective date of this act.

These provisions are similar to HCS/SB 200 (2015), HB 156 (2015), SB 790 (2014), SB 491 (2014), SB 377 (2013), SB 253 (2013), and SB 872 (2012).


This act provides a process for juveniles who have been sentenced for first degree murder to petition for a review of their sentences. This act states that the provisions allowing for such review have retroactive application.

This act provides the requirements for the petition to be accepted by a sentencing court and allows the prosecutor 30 days to reply. Unless the petition has been returned to the person for failing to provide all the required information, the court must hold a hearing to determine if the person is currently serving a mandatory sentence of life without parole for an offense committed while the person was under the age of 18. If the court determines the person is eligible for resentencing, the court must set the matter for resentencing the defendant in the same manner as if the defendant had never been sentenced. Family members of victims have the right to participate in the hearing.

This provision is similar to a provision of HCS/SB 200 (2015).

The provisions of this act contain an emergency clause.