Governor Mike Parson is set to begin his special session on violent crime on Monday, July 27. The special session is to be held in the wake of the passage of Missouri’s controversial crime reform bill, SB 600. Parson signed SB 600 into law after visiting an injured Missouri police officer’s family.
The bill was sponsored by Republican State Senator Tony Luetkemeyer. Senator Luetkemeyer said a USA Today report that listed St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield as being in the top 25 most dangerous cities in the United States served as inspiration for the crime reform bill.
Overview of the Crime Reform Bill
Critics of SB 600 argued that the bill brings expanded prison sentences, broader definitions of certain crimes, and will cost taxpayers a hefty price tag. Here is what SB 600 changed in Missouri:
Offenders can now be charged with conspiracy AND the crime itself. These charges were previously mutually exclusive. Additionally, conspiracy is considered a “dangerous felony” along with armed criminal action and carjacking.
SB 600 revised probation standards to deny eligibility to people convicted of second-degree murder and felonies involving a deadly weapon.
Lengthier Minimum Sentences
Offenders convicted of armed criminal action now face lengthier prison sentences. Unlawful possession of a firearm went from a class D felony to a class C felony.
Increased Sentences for Gang-Related Crimes
Sentences for gang-related crimes increase by five years if the crime is considered a dangerous felony. Additionally, if the crime occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, the sentence is increased by three years.
Potential Impact of SB 600
The Missouri Department of Corrections estimated that the bill could increase the prison population by more than 2,544 prisoners over the next 18 years. Critics of the bill have argued that this increase in the prison population would warrant the construction of two additional state prisons.
An Attorney Could Help You Face Your Charges
Facing a dangerous felony charge in Missouri just got all the more serious with the passage of SB 600. If you are facing these charges in, contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. Your freedom is at stake, and you will want an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side.