SB 859
Modifies provisions relating to the offense of murder in the first degree
LR Number:
Last Action:
1/11/2024 - Second Read and Referred S Judiciary and Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee
Journal Page:
Effective Date:
August 28, 2024

Current Bill Summary

SB 859 - This act provides that if a person is found to have suffered from a serious mental illness at the time of the commission of the offense, as provided in the act, and has significantly impaired capacity to exercise rational judgment or appreciate the wrongfulness of his or her conduct, then he or she shall be ineligible for a sentence of death. The diagnosis of a defendant with a serious mental illness may be made at any time prior to, on, or after the date of the commission of the offense.

The court may order a mental evaluation of the defendant at the request of the prosecuting attorney or the defendant, however, the results of the evaluation shall not be used as evidence against the defendant. If a defendant raises the matter of having a serious mental illness, the prosecuting or circuit attorney shall have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the serious mental illness did not exist at the time of the offense. The defendant is entitled to a pretrial hearing on the eligibility of the defense.

A defendant's pleading of not guilty due to incapacity to stand trial shall not preclude the defendant from raising the matter of serious mental illness.

Finally, under current law, if a jury is unable to agree upon the punishment for the offense of murder in the first degree, the court is to instruct the jury that the judge may decide upon a punishment of life imprisonment without eligibility for parole or a sentence of death.

This act repeals the provision that a judge may decide upon a punishment of death if the jury is unable to agree.

This act is similar to HCS/HBs 1756 & 1925 (2020) and to provisions in SB 687 (2023), SB 825 (2022), HB 1746 (2022), HB 2700 (2022), SB 341 (2021), SB 920 (2020), SB 288 (2019), and SB 996 (2018).



No Amendments Found.