HCS/SS#2/SCS/SB 590 - 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 2012, 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. Under this act, a person who was under the age of 18 at the time of the first degree murder may be sentenced to life without eligibility for parole, life with eligibility for parole, or a term of imprisonment at least 30 years and not more than 40 years. A list of factors for the judge or jury to consider when assessing punishment is provided.
This act establishes procedures for when a prosecutor intends to seek a sentence of life without parole. A person found guilty of murder in the first degree who was under the age of 18 at the time of the offense is eligible for a sentence of life without parole only if a unanimous jury, or a judge in a jury-waived sentencing, finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant personally inflicted the injury that caused the death of the victim and at least one of an enumerated list of aggravating factors exists.
A person who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole prior to August 28, 2016 for a crime committed before the person turned 18 years of age is eligible for a parole hearing after serving 25 years. A person who was sentenced on or after August 28, 2016 to any term of imprisonment except life without parole for an offense of first degree murder committed before the person turned 18 years old is eligible for a parole hearing after serving 25 years and is eligible for another hearing after serving 35 years. This act specifies the factors that the parole board must consider at the hearings.
These provisions have an emergency clause.
This act repeals obsolete provisions stating that certain trials are to proceed in a single stage. Other technical changes were made in this act to make the provisions align with amendments to the criminal code in SB 491 (2014).
Provisions of this act are contained in or are similar to the truly agreed to and finally passed SS/SCS/HCS/HB 2332 (2016), HCS/SS/SCS/SB 663 (2016), HCS/HB 1995 (2016), HB 2084 (2016), SB 200 (2015), SB 790 (2014), SB 491 (2014), SB 377 (2013), SB 253 (2013), and SB 872 (2012).