SB 397
Modifies various aspects of the criminal justice system
LR Number:
Last Action:
2/28/2005 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Calendar Position:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2005

Current Bill Summary

SB 397 - This act makes changes to the criminal justice system.

SURCHARGE ON CRIMINAL CASES - The act creates a $5 surcharge on all criminal court cases, with $4 deposited into the "Missouri Laboratory Oversight Committee Revolving Fund" and $1 deposited into the "Justice Improvement Fund" (Section 488.5022).

ELECTRONICALLY RECORDING POLICE INTERVIEWS - The act mandates that any interview conducted by a peace officer in a police facility for a person that may have witnessed a first degree murder, second degree murder, voluntary or involuntary manslaughter crime be electronically recorded. This act also requires any interview of a suspect of these crimes to be electronically recorded. This act defines electronically recorded. This act outlines the requirements that must be met for any statement obtained at a police facility to be admissible in a criminal proceeding. The state may rebut the presumption of the inadmissibility of a statement not electronically recorded with good cause. Under this act, an electronic recording of a statement is admissible against the defendant if the statement was obtained in accordance of laws of this state, those of another state, or the United States. This act requires law enforcement officials to preserve electronic recordings until the defendant's conviction is final and no appeals remain available (Section 491.800).

ELECTRONICALLY RECORDING INDIVIDUALS WITH SIGNIFICANT LEARNING DISABILITIES AND THOSE UNDER THE AGE OF TWELVE - The act requires any interview or questioning relating to a felony, which is conducted by a peace officer with a person whom the peace officer has a reasonable belief that the person has significant learning disabilities, or a person under the age of 12, shall be electronically recorded and consist of nonleading questions that do not unduly suggest the answer (Section 491.803).

JAIL HOUSE SNITCH - The act requires prosecutors using the testimony of a witness who was incarcerated at the same time as the defendant to obtain an affidavit from the witness containing: (1) listing of specific consideration given by the state; (2) requests by law enforcement about cooperating; (3) listing of previous criminal cases that the witness has testified in; (4) listing of cases that the witness has been a state's witness and the consideration given; and (5) any media account of the charges that the witness may have observed.

The Department of Public Safety shall establish a registry to track state's witnesses on the MULES system. The prosecutor will supply the information, including a written copy of the witness statement. The registry is only an investigative database and is not a public record (Section 491.806).

LAW ENFORCEMENT CERTIFICATION TO PROSECUTOR - The act requires that the law enforcement officer in charge of the principal investigating agency certify to the prosecutor a list of all evidence, including a list of witnesses. This shall be done within 10 days of presentment to the prosecutor and the certification is an ongoing obligation until the investigation is closed (Section 491.809).

EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE PROTOCOL TO FINDER OF FACT - The act allows a significant violation of the eyewitness evidence protocol to result in the finder of fact being instructed as to the risks of mistaken identification. However, no violation of the eyewitness evidence protocol shall provide the basis for a court to grant a motion to exclude any eyewitness identification. This section also allows the jury to be instructed as to the reliability of eyewitness evidence, if used in trial (Section 546.070).

EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE FORMS - The act gives the Director of Public Safety the authority to provide standardized eyewitness evidence forms for use by law enforcement in all cases where an individual was observed by the witness and the identity of the suspect is unknown by the witness (Section 590.700).

EYEWITNESS EVIDENCE PROTOCOL - The act requires the Director of Public Safety to promulgate an eyewitness evidence protocol. There are seven requirements set out in this section (Section 590.702).

DNA EVIDENCE - The act requires that possible DNA evidence must be preserved by the Highway Patrol for all felonies. Previously, this section only was limited to specific crimes (Section 650.056).

LOCAL DNA SYSTEM - In addition to current requirements, this act prohibits any local law enforcement agency from establishing or operating a DNA profiling system unless the system is accredited by a national nonprofit association involved in forensic science and undergoes external audits periodically that show compliance with crime lab standards established by the FBI (Section 650.057).

LABORATORY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE - This act creates a seven member "Laboratory Oversight Committee". This committee will provide independent review of state crime lab operations. The committee will have the power to do the following when allegations of misconduct have been made against any Missouri crime lab: (1) issue public reprimands to laboratories and individuals; (2) sanction a laboratory having multiple violations of good scientific procedure; (3) administer oaths, subpoena witnesses, issue subpoenas duces tecum and require production of documents and records; (4) submit material covertly to a Missouri crime lab for testing; (5) display a placard at crime labs providing contact information to the oversight committee; (6) seek equitable relief in a circuit court to ensure that every crime lab is in compliance with the federal DNA Identification Act and other protocols established by the FBI (Section 650.500).

LAB REPORTS - The act mandates that every lab report shall be signed by the individual conducting the test. The report shall also contain a listing of outside agencies which have currently accredited the lab. The report shall also certify if the testing was performed in accordance with national or association standards.

This section also makes it a Class B felony for any public employee or lab personnel to knowingly alter or falsify laboratory test results for the purpose of changing the test results (Section 650.505).

MISSOURI LABORATORY OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE REVOLVING FUND - The act sets up the "Missouri Laboratory Oversight Committee Revolving Fund" that consists of a portion of the moneys collected from the $5 criminal surcharge listed in Section 488.5022 of this act. One-half of the money shall be directed to conduct DNA testing of currently incarcerated individuals and to improve the DNA database. One-quarter of the money shall be used for accreditation testing and auditing of crime lab facilities. The remaining one-quarter shall be used by the Laboratory Oversight Committee to obtain new equipment and to provide training for Missouri crime lab personnel (Section 650.507).

JUSTICE IMPROVEMENT FUND - The act sets up the "Justice Improvement Fund" that consists of a portion of the moneys collected from the $5 criminal surcharge listed in Section 488.5022 of this act. The fund is designed to reimburse law enforcement agencies for necessary expenses accrued to comply with the requirements of these sections. The Director of the Department of Public Safety administers the fund and is granted rulemaking power to do so. If the fund balance exceeds $30,000, the excess money shall be used to grant scholarships for law enforcement training. Scholarships will be granted to those officers or candidates whose departments require them to personally accrue the cost of training. The officer or candidate must stay in the profession for four years following the completion of his or her training or he or she must reimburse the fund for the scholarship money awarded on a pro-rata basis for each month he or she is not employed in law enforcement that is less than the required forty-eight months (Section 650.509).

CRIME LAB RECORDS - The act requires state crime laboratories to keep records on testing methodology, quality assurance, internal auditing, technical reviews, instrument maintenance, technician lab notes and written external auditing procedures for a period of twelve years (Section 650.510).