A bill that would take away a judge's discretion to decide a life or death sentence when a jury fails to reach a verdict in a capital murder trial was heard this week in the House Special Committee on Criminal Justice. In most states, if the jury can't reach a decision, the judge can only impose a life sentence. Missouri abided by this law prior to 1983, when the law was changed to allow the judge to impose a death sentence in cases of a "hung" jury. Sponsored by Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin), HB 811 would bring Missouri back in step with the rest of the country. The MCC, along with many other witnesses, testified to the importance of a jury making the decision rather than leaving it a judge who could be swayed by political pressure. The committee took no action on the bill.
March 15, 2019 - 1:20pm