HCS HB 1225 -- RIGHTS OF MURDER DEFENDANTS
COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Criminal
Law by a vote of 16 to 0.
This substitute makes changes to provisions affecting the rights
of defendants charged with murder. The substitute:
(1) Requires that any information, evidence, statement, or
confession obtained during interrogation of a mentally retarded
person be excluded from evidence unless an attorney was present
representing the defendant. The substitute requires a
reasonable effort be made to contact a mentally retarded
defendant's parent, guardian, or protector before interrogation
(Section 544.681, RSMo);
(2) Prohibits the use of the death penalty for persons who are
found to be mentally retarded by a preponderance of the
evidence. The judge determines the issue of mental retardation
prior to the trial. The substitute also defines "mental
retardation" as a condition involving substantial limitations in
general functioning (Section 565.030);
(3) Creates a commission on the death penalty to study all
aspects of the death penalty in Missouri. The substitute
designates the members of the commission and directs it to hold
public hearings. The commission's findings, which must include
recommendations for corrective amendments to the statutes and
court rules, are to be available to the Governor, Legislature,
and the Supreme Court by January 1, 2003 (Section 565.042).
FISCAL NOTE: Cost to General Revenue Fund of $273,693 in FY
2001, $150,751 in FY 2002, and $75,713 in FY 2003.
PROPONENTS: Supporters say that the bill ensures that the death
penalty is reserved for defendants whose actions are willful and
calculated, based on current science and the history of the
Testifying for the bill were Representative Schilling; Gino
Battisti, attorney; Missouri Catholic Conference; Paraquad;
Missouri Planning Council for the Developmentally Disabled;
Governor's Council on Disability; David Everson, attorney;
Theodore Schroeder; America Civil Liberties Union; Missouri
Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; and Bruce Livingston.
OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.
Sarah Madden, Legislative Analyst
HB 1225 -- Death Penalty for Mentally Retarded Persons
Co-Sponsors: Schilling, Williams (121), Troupe, Riback Wilson
This bill prohibits the use of the death penalty for persons who
are mentally retarded. The judge is required to determine prior
to submission to the jury whether the defendant is eligible to
receive the death penalty.
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Last Updated October 5, 2000 at 11:32 am