A sentencing bill dealing with juveniles who commit first degree murder passed the Missouri Senate this week by a vote of 29-3. SB 200, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Springfield), sets up a two tiered system of 35 years for younger offenders and a 50 year sentence for older juveniles. A new sentencing scheme in Missouri was needed as the previous mandatory sentence of life without parole was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in Miller v Alabama.
The MCC opposed SB 200 as we felt that the proposal is still unconstitutional under Miller as it does not provide a meaningful second chance at life for those youth who have been rehabilitated. Instead of a restorative justice approach, SB 200 is a punitive reaction to crime.
The bill is now headed toward the House.
Posted: May 1, 2015