It’s pretty uncommon for prosecutors and defense attorneys to stand on the same side of an issue. But on one piece of legislation, they’re joining forces to impact important change.
Circuit Attorney Jennifer M. Joyce stood side-by-side with defense attorneys in Jefferson City Wednesday, talking to Missouri legislators about a bill that could put more child molesters in prison and would give drunk drivers who kill more time behind bars.
The proposal is the first complete and cohesive overhaul of all the criminal laws on the books in Missouri since 1979.
For the past eight years, prosecutors in the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office have worked hand-in-hand with defense attorneys and other interested organizations to tackle the revision of the Criminal Code.
Twenty-five public hearings have also been held.
“This Revision gives Missouri’s prosecutors necessary tools to keep violent criminals off the street longer and to promote efficiency with respect to true non-violent offenses,” said Jason Lamb, Executive Director of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys.
The full intent of the bill is to promote public safety. Here are just a few examples of how it will achieve that aim:
It has the strongest approach to assault crimes ever seen in Missouri’s history. Those who commit violent felonies will have their punishments increase on their second offense, not the third as is currently the case.
Habitual drunk drivers will be treated as dangerous felons and will have to serve 85% of their time in prison.
Currently, a drunk driver who kills his passenger in a crash can receive no more than seven years in prison. This revision will allow the same driver to spend a decade behind bars.
Laws relating to child sex abuse are strengthened with the revision, giving prosecutors more tools to put child molesters in prison.
For more information on the Criminal Code bill, click here.
To follow the developments of the bill, follow @JenniferJoyceCA on Twitter or search #MoCrimCode.