SB 790 - 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. Under this act, a person who was 16 or 17 years old at the time of the crime may be sentenced to either imprisonment for at least 50 years or life imprisonment without parole. A person who was under the age of 16 may be sentenced to imprisonment for at least 35 years or life without parole.
Under this act, the prosecutor must file a notice of intent to seek a punishment of life imprisonment without parole. The trier must consider certain specified factors relating to the defendant, the victim, and the crime when deciding to impose life without parole and must make findings on the record regarding those factors.
Any person who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for a crime committed before the person turned 18 whose case is not final for purposes of appeal may, within six months of the effective date of the act, file a motion with the sentencing court for a review of the person's sentence. This act specifies that the new procedures for juvenile first degree murderers do not apply to cases that are final for purposes of appeal.
The offense of murder in the first degree was added to the definition of "dangerous felony".
This act repeals an obsolete provision, which states 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).
This act contains an emergency clause for the provisions setting out the penalty for first degree murder. A provision that changes a reference to the drug crime statutes has an effective date of January 1, 2016, which is the effective date for SB 491 (2014).
This act contains provisions similar to HB 1560 (2014), HB 1986 (2014), SB 491 (2014), SB 377 (2013), SB 253 (2013), and SB 872 (2012).