Missouri Senate Okays Compromise Crime Bill

​Missouri senators on Thursday advanced a bill to temporarily lift a requirement that St. Louis police live in that city and allow judges to try some children as adults for felony crimes.

Republican Gov. Mike Parson called for those changes in response to a surge in murders in the state’s cities.

The bill agreed on by senators also would ramp up penalties for adults who give weapons to children without their parents’ permission and strengthen witness protections, among other things.

Lawmakers disagreed on whether to let judges try children as young as 12 as adults. They compromised by raising that age to 14 and requiring that minors be kept separate from adult prisoners.

Senators also fought on whether to end the rule that St. Louis police officers live in the city.

Some senators argued that lifting the residency requirement could boost recruitment and combat understaffing at the agency. But Democratic senators who represent the city said it should be up to St. Louis voters to decide who can serve in law enforcement there.

Lawmakers compromised by proposing to lift the residency requirement for only three years.

The bill needs another Senate vote of approval before it can go to the House for consideration.

 
Associated Press | Missouri Lawyers Media​ molawyersmedia.com

Nearly 20 Testify in Support of Violent Crime Bill

More than a dozen people — most of whom are law enforcement officials — testified in favor of the Senate legislation driving the special session on violent crime during a committee hearing Tuesday.

Republican Sen. Doug Libla’s multifaceted SB 1 includes an end to residency requirements for St. Louis police officers and other public safety personnel, certification to try certain juveniles as adults, witness statement admissibility, creation of a pre-trial witness protection fund, modification of the offense of endangering a child, and an increased penalty for illegally transferring a firearm to a minor.

Eighteen people stood to support the bill during the nearly two-hour-long hearing Tuesday afternoon. Four people (only two in-person) expressed opposition to the legislation.

The bill would “give law enforcement the tools they need to combat violent crime,” David Parrish, the Lewis County sheriff and president of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, said. “One of the things we’ve done in Missouri is a remarkable job of caring for the people who commit crimes. … I wonder if we would make that same commitment to the victims and witnesses who are involved in these violent incidents what type of change we’d actually make.”

Charles and Kelli Lowe also testified Tuesday about their experiences in St. Louis. Kelli Lowe is the president of the National Police Wives Association and her husband, who was ambushed and shot in 2015, is a sergeant in St. Louis.

Specifically, the couple expressed support for ending the residency requirement for officers in St. Louis as well as for greater mental health resources for officers and their families.

“With everything going on right now … being able to find the most well-equipped officers is so important,” Kelli Lowe said.

Kelli Lowe, president of the National Police Wives Association, met with Gov. Mike Parson and the first lady Tuesday ahead of the committee hearing. 

But the bill could be detrimental to minors as it stands now — particularly the provision that would certify a juvenile as an adult for certain weapons-related and armed criminal action crimes, Mo Del Villar of the ACLU of Missouri said.

“If you put kids in front of a judge, more kids will be certified. Period,” Del Villar said. “This presents another ramp for kids to be thrown into the criminal justice system.”

She also noted a racial discrepancy among minors who go through the certification process. Pointing to a 2017 report from the Missouri Juvenile and Family Division, Del Villar told lawmakers 74 percent of Black youth in Missouri who went through the process were ultimately certified to be tried as adults compared to just 26 percent of white minors.  

“Missouri’s juvenile system has been seen [as] a model across the nation, and this bill would be breaking a system intended to help kids,” she said. “If Black lives truly matter in this state, we need to find ways to prove that within each step of the process. This is an egregious difference between how young folks are being treated.”

As the global health crisis persists, the hearing was held in the Senate chambers, with committee members sitting at their desks on the third floor and witnesses, guests, and reporters congregated on the upper level. The witness microphone was stationed next to the reporters’ area.

The committee adjourned by 2:30 p.m. and is expected to go into executive session on the bill on Aug. 5.

Libla chairs the committee although fellow Republican Sen. Lincoln Hough led Tuesday’s hearing so he could testify on behalf of his own bill. Other committee members included GOP Sens. Justin Brown, Bill Eigel, and Cindy O’Laughlin as well as Democratic Sens. Karla May and Brian Williams.

By Kaitlyn Schallhorn | The Missouri Times

Governor Announces Special Session to Address Violent Crime

Today, Governor Mike Parson announced a special session beginning Monday, July 27, which will focus on addressing violent crime in Missouri.

Governor Parson was joined at the press conference by Missouri Department of Public Safety Director Sandy Karsten, Missouri State Highway Patrol Colonel Eric Olson, Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish, who currently serves as president of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, and several law enforcement officers.

“As Governor and a former law enforcement officer for more than 22 years, protecting our citizens and upholding the laws of our state are of utmost importance to my administration,” Governor Parson said. “We know we have a serious problem with violent crime here in Missouri that must be addressed. Violent crime has been a problem in our state long before COVID-19, and we have seen it escalate even more in recent weeks, specifically in our big cities.”

Missouri has seen rapid increases in crime rates this year, primarily in the state’s urban areas. Kansas City recently reached 101 homicides for 2020 – a 35 percent increase from 2019. In St. Louis, there have been 130 homicides so far this year compared to 99 at the same time last year.

From May to June alone, data from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department shows significant increases in reports of violent crime. In St. Louis County, aggravated assaults with a firearm are up 19 percent year-to-date.

“These are just the grim numbers, but the effects of violent crime across our state are best measured in lives – lives lost, futures cut short, and families hurting,” Governor Parson said. “All of this is unacceptable. We are better than that in Missouri, and we must hold violent criminals accountable for their actions.”

“I want to be clear that violent crime isn’t just a St. Louis or Kansas City problem,” Governor Parson continued. “It is a Missouri problem, and we cannot wait until next session to address it. It must be addressed now, which is why we are having this special session.”

The special session will focus on amending state statutes related to violent crime. Specifically, six different provisions will be considered:

Police and Public Safety Employee Residency Requirements for St. Louis – The proposal to be considered would eliminate the residency requirement for St. Louis law enforcement so long as the officer lives within an hour of the city. This proposal would also prohibit requiring any public safety employee for the city of St. Louis to be a resident of the City.

Juvenile Certification – This proposal requires the court to determine if a juvenile should be certified for trial as an adult for the offense of unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action.  

Witness Statement Admissibility – This proposal would allow certain statements to be admissible in court that would otherwise not be allowed under current statute.  

Witness Protection Fund – This proposal creates the Pretrial Witness Protection Fund.

Endangering the Welfare of a Child – This proposal modifies the offense of endangering the welfare of a child for a person who encourages a child to engage in any weapons offense.

Unlawful Transfer of Weapons – This proposal would increase penalty for a person who knowingly sells or delivers any firearm to a child less than 18 years without the consent of the child’s parent or guardian.

“If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together,” Governor Parson said. “We must do our jobs. We must support our law enforcement officers, and we must start prioritizing the prevention of violent crime.”

To view the special session proclamation, click here. To view Governor Parson’s remarks from the press conference, click here.

In a statement posted on Facebook later in the day by the governor, he said, If our criminal justice system is going to work, ALL parts of it must be in sync. Law enforcement, prosecution, and sentencing.

If any of these aren’t working right or aren’t doing their job, the whole system fails. The only way we can truly make a difference, fight violent crime, and make our communities safer is by working together.

If you talk to any county or city police department, there are hundreds of unfilled law enforcement positions simply because less and less people want to work in this arena.

People need to understand the sacrifices that law enforcement officers make every day, especially with everything that’s going on in our state right now.

If there was ever a time to stand up for law enforcement, now is the time. They are the front-line response for Missourians. We must support them and give them the respect they deserve, because we cannot fix this problem without them.

If we are to change violent criminal acts across our state, we must work together, we must do our jobs, and WE MUST support our law enforcement officers.

Governor Signs Bill to Increase Prison Sentences

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced he’s signing a contested bill that will ramp up penalties for gun crimes, second-degree murder and gang crimes.

It also would create the crime of vehicle hijacking, which now can be prosecuted as robbery.

The measure is the only bill the Republican-led Legislature passed this year to address a surge in violent crime in Kansas City, Springfield and St. Louis.

But groups ranging from the NAACP to the conservative Americans for Prosperity criticized the bill as a return to tough-on-crime policies and argued locking people up longer won’t make Missouri safer.

Even the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, which along with other law enforcement groups urged Parson to sign the bill, said it doesn’t go far enough to address the recent increase in violent crime.

Parson on Monday said he’ll continue looking for ways to stem violence.

“This legislation is a large step towards safety and justice for our communities,” Parson said. “However, there is a lot more to be done. These tools are just the beginning of the work that needs to be done to fight violent criminals.”

The bill takes effect Aug. 28.

Senate to Consider Renewal of Surveillance Laws

The Senate is expected to vote on whether to extend three surveillance authorities as senators of both parties express concerns that the laws infringe on Americans’ rights.

The surveillance pro​​visions expired in March, the month lawmakers fled Washington because of the coronavirus pandemic. House lawmakers passed a bipartisan compromise bill just before leaving town, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not yet been able to push the legislation through the Senate.

The House legislation also has the backing of President Donald Trump, Attorney General William Barr and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. The compromise would renew the three surveillance authorities and impose new restrictions to try and appease civil liberties advocates in both parties.

But the House legislation does not make enough changes for a bipartisan coalition of senators who have long sought to curb federal law enforcement’s ability to surveil. Two amendment votes on Wednesday won solid majorities of senators and complicated McConnell’s efforts to send the bill to the president’s desk for signature.

The expired provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act allow the FBI to get a court order for business records in national security investigations, to conduct surveillance on a subject without establishing that they’re acting on behalf of an international terrorism organization, and to more easily continue eavesdropping on a subject who has switched cell phone providers to thwart detection.

Lacking enough support to pass the House measure, McConnell instead pushed through a simple extension of the surveillance laws in March. But Pelosi never took up that legislation in the House, and McConnell is trying again to pass the compromise House bill this week.

“The attorney general and members of Congress have worked together to craft a compromise solution that will implement needed reforms while preserving the core national security tools,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Wednesday. “These intense discussions have produced a strong bill that balances the need for accountability with our solemn obligation to protect our citizens and defend our homeland.”

McConnell urged senators to vote against three amendments to the bill, two of which came up for votes on Wednesday. He said the legislation was already a “delicate balance” and warned changing it could mean the underlying provisions won’t be renewed.

“We cannot let the perfect become the enemy of the good when key authorities are currently sitting expired and unusable,” McConnell said on the Senate floor before the vote.

Still, 59 senators voted for the first amendment — one short of the 60 votes needed — and the second amendment was adopted with 77 votes, more than three-fourths of the chamber. Both were overwhelmingly bipartisan votes.

The first amendment, by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, would have prevented federal law enforcement from obtaining internet browsing information or search history without seeking a warrant.

“Should law-abiding Americans have to worry about their government looking over their shoulders from the moment they wake up in the morning and turn on their computers to when they go to bed at night?” Wyden asked. “I believe the answer is no. But that’s exactly what the government has the power to do without our amendment.”

An aide to Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said after the vote that she would have supported the amendment if she had been present — meaning it would have passed. Murray was in her home state and is expected to be in the Senate for Thursday’s vote.

Julian Sanchez, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, a think tank, said it was striking that the amendment failed by only one vote. He said the vote total would have been “inconceivable” five years ago.

“It suggests a sea change in attitudes” following revelations in problems with how the FBI has used its secret surveillance powers, Sanchez said. “It goes to the sort of collapse in trust in the intelligence community to deploy these authorities in a restrained way.”

The second amendment, by Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would boost third-party oversight to protect individuals in some surveillance cases. It was adopted 77-19.

If the Senate passes the legislation with the amendments intact, the bill would then have to go back to the House for approval.

A third amendment, by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a longtime skeptic of surveillance programs, is expected to be considered Thursday before a final vote. Paul’s amendment would require the government to go to a traditional federal court, instead of the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, to get a warrant to eavesdrop on an American.

The congressional debate coincides with internal efforts by the FBI and Justice Department to overhaul its surveillance procedures after a harshly critical inspector general report documented a series of problems in the FBI’s investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign.

The report identified significant errors and omissions in applications that were submitted in 2016 and 2017 to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

The Justice Department inspector general has since said that it has identified additional problems in applications. The FBI has announced steps designed to ensure that the application process is more accurate and thorough, and that information that cuts against the premise of the requested surveillance is disclosed to the court.

Trump has frequently railed against the surveillance laws and the Russia investigation. But with encouragement from Barr and congressional Republicans, he said he will support the House-passed legislation.

Associated Press | Molawyersmedia.com

Missouri Passes Bill Requiring Hospitals to Offer Rape Kits

All Missouri hospitals would be required to provide rape kits under a bill focused on the rights of sexual assault survivors that lawmakers passed Tuesday.

Few Missouri hospitals currently have staff certified to gather DNA samplings and other evidence of sexual assault through rape kits, which can be used by law enforcement and prosecutors to catch and convict rapists. There are only 27 sexual assault nurse examiners in the state, according to the International Association of Forensic Nurses.

“Survivors of sexual assault deserve justice, care and comfort,” Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said in a statement. “Unfortunately, too many Missouri hospitals do not have the resources needed to properly respond to these traumatic situations.”

Schupp pushed to add the requirement that all licensed hospitals provide rape kits by 2023 to the broader bill on sexual assault and rape kits, sponsored by Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig. Schupp said the change will mean survivors “will no longer be faced with the difficult decision to forgo a rape kit or to drive great distances to obtain one.”

Spokesman Dave Dillon said the Missouri Hospital Association is “absolutely supportive” of speeding up the process of conducting and testing rape kits. But he said requiring all hospitals to conduct rape kits “doesn’t make it easier to actuate on the ground.”

Dillon said hiring properly trained nurses will be difficult amid a nursing shortage, and cash-strapped hospitals now have to prioritize which specialty training they can afford.

There are workarounds in the bill to help hospitals that might struggle getting nurses with the training needed to perform the exams.

The measure would give hospitals access to virtual and in-person training on how to perform rape kits. If a hospital does not have properly trained staff by then and a victim asks for a rape kit, a doctor or nurse with the statewide training program would be available to virtually coach them through an exam.

The requirement that all hospitals be able to provide exams would only take effect if the statewide training is available. The health department could also issue year-long waivers “sparingly” if certain hospitals don’t have adequate internet access to the statewide training services.

The bill also would enact a “Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights” that says victims don’t have to pay for rape kits and can get a free shower after an exam, if that’s available.

Rape survivors would have the right to have a support person and a rape crisis center employee or volunteer present during interviews with police, prosecutors and defense attorneys. They could choose whether to speak with a male or female officer.

Other provisions in the bill would require the state to create a central storage center for unreported rape kits and require those kits to be stored for at least five years.

“Thousands of untested kits have been sitting in hospitals and police departments for years,” Koenig said in a statement. “This is unacceptable, and my legislation puts a stop to it.”

Republican Rep. Justin Hill questioned holding on to rape kits from victims who don’t want to pursue charges that “we essentially don’t need” because “there’s no crime since there’s no prosecution.”

“Do we just hang on to this DNA of Missouri citizens who were never charged with a crime?” he said on the House floor.

The measure now heads to Republican Gov​​. Mike Parson, who has not said whether he will sign it.

House lawmakers also on Tuesday sent Parson a wide-ranging bill that  would limit what are called punitive damages, which are awarded as a way to financially punish defendants for causing harm.

If signed by Parson, who typically supports limiting lawsuits, the bill would only allow punitive damages if the person suing “proves by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant intentionally harmed the plaintiff without just cause or acted with a deliberate and flagrant disregard for the safety of others.”

The measure passed the House 98-51.

Associated Press | Molawyersmedia.com

COVID-19 Derails Efforts to Put Recreational Marijuana on Fall Ballot

An effort to get a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in Missouri on the November ballot has collapsed amid the coronavirus outbreak.

A group called Missourians for a New Approach committee announced Wednesday that it “simply cannot succeed in gathering sufficient signatures” amid restrictions that closed business and forced people to stay home. The group had faced a deadline of May 3 to collect 170,000 signatures.

“We had hoped that it might be possible to persuade the state of Missouri to allow online signature gathering under the extraordinary circumstances we find ourselves in this spring,” the group said in a statement.

But state officials said no, and the group sai​​d “there does not appear to be any other path.” The statement said that the group hoped that the campaign would resume next year, with the goal of placing the issue of whether to legalize the use of marijuana for those 21 or older on the November 2022 ballot.

“It appears,” the group wrote, “that Missourians are ready to embrace legalization if given the opportunity to vote on it.”

The group has said the recreational marijuana effort is being supported by the same backers who helped pass the medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2018.

 
​Associated Press | News Tribune​

Missouri House Committee Considers Strengthening Charges for Suspects who Fuel High-Speed Chases

State Representative Jeff Shawan, R-Poplar Bluff, is proposing to crank up the charge for individuals who run from law enforcement – triggering a high-speed chase.

Under current law, bolting from officers is a misdemeanor. Shawan wants the suspects to face ​​a class C to E felony, depending on the severity of the crime and number of times the act is committed.

During a public hearing last month, Cass County Sheriff Jeff Weber of western Missouri says the current punishment is not enough.

“It’s got to be addressed. It’s got to be addressed now,” he says. “Because we’re only rolling the dice until these people actually hurt or kill someone.”

Van Buren Police Chief Alonzo Bradwell of southeast Missouri agrees with Weber.

“The ones that we do catch always say ‘If we could’ve just got away from you, even if you would’ve found us, it would’ve just been a misdemeanor.’ They’re more emboldened to run from us and our resources in a small community like that are very limited,” he say.

Bob Adams, a former law enforcement officer and Shawan’s cousin, says his daughter was killed in 1998 after a 14-year-old suspect slammed a stolen vehicle into hers. He says the boy was being chased by a rookie officer going 110 miles per hour through the heart of southeast Missouri’s Jackson.

“This was a tragic accident in a number of ways,” he says as his voice cracks. “It affected my family just profoundly. I can’t tell you how deeply it bothered us for a very long time.”

No one spoke in opposition to the proposal. The Missouri House Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety is considering House Bill 1620 and has not yet voted on the plan.

By Alisa Nelson | Missourinet

Sheriffs Carry the Concerns of their Citizens to the Capitol

Fifty-some sheriffs visited the state capitol March 12 to remind lawmakers that the challenges facing the sheriffs are real, that something needs to be done and that they need legislators’ help to make the needed changes.

​​Lewis County Sheriff David Parrish, the president of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association, told the group of legislators and media representatives gathered in the House of Representatives Lounge that 2019 may go down in history as one of the worst years for sheriffs who are attempting to enforce the rule of law and protect the local law-abiding tax payers they serve.

“Sheriffs have been concerned many years – 2019 was just the culmination that the justice system has become too offender-centered. Some well-intentioned people have become too focused on those committing the crimes while not necessarily focusing on the neighborhoods they are affecting and the victims the sheriffs are committed to fighting for,” he said.

Sheriff Parrish summarized some of the challenges they’re facing:

▪ In March, 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that board bills should not be considered court costs – even though that had been the practice for 100 years.

▪ The Missouri Bond Reform, which was ordered December 2018 and became effective July 1, 2019, prohibits judges from keeping defendants in jail if they can’t afford bail. Instead, those defendants, many of whom are “career criminals,” are to be released on their own signature with only a ticket, which, according to sheriffs, allows them to continue to victimize their communities.

▪ State statute requires sheriffs to accept prisoners or face a misdemeanor, and the state is to reimburse counties $22.58 per day for holding those prisoners. However, Missouri is falling further and further behind in paying the jail per diems. As of December 2019, the state owed counties – and ultimately county taxpayers – an estimated $33.4 million.

▪ Sheriffs are at odds with the Missouri Department of Corrections because those sheriffs believe once an offender is sentenced to prison, he or she should not on Day 1 be considered for conditional early release. In many cases, inmates are serving one to three months per year sentenced.

Sheriff Parrish said they hear too often “’What is wrong with society?’ and ‘Why doesn’t society do more for the career criminal?’ We say they can’t afford court costs, we say they can’t afford the board bill, we say they can’t be in jail very long instead of just reminding ourselves that there’s a very simple way – a very simple way – to not have to do those things. Don’t violate the law. I know our constituents believe that if someone does violate the law, we should be firm and fair but also hold them accountable.”

Cape Girardeau County Sheriff Ruth Ann Dickerson went into more detail about jail per diems.

“We, as sheriffs, hear from our citizens every day about how we are handling our budgets – their tax dollars,” she said, reminding those present that their citizens, their constituents, their voters were the same citizens, constituents and voters that the legislators represent. “And they want to know how you are handling their tax dollars. When the state does not pay its bills, it affects not only the sheriffs but the citizens in the lost revenues to our communities.”

Sheriff Dickerson explained that although the rate has fluctuated over the years, since 1976, the state, under Missouri Statute 221.105 has paid per diem for all inmates housed in county jails.

“The state acknowledges that their daily cost for handling inmates is $65 a day. The state allows its own employees a per diem for meals of $34 a day. But the per diem of inmates is just $22.58. The state is also using local jails to hold parole offenders. It used to be that if someone violated their parole, they immediately went back to the Department of Corrections. Today those offenders are staying in the county jails waiting on hearings, waiting on the steps the Department of Corrections will take many times to be released back into the community without any further sentencing or time.”

Sheriff Dickerson also said 1996 was the last time the Missouri legislature and the governor’s office officially recognized that public safety is a partnership between the local, county and state government. Since that time, funding has been directed at other programs, causing the arrearage to grow. She produced a study conducted in 2010 by the National Association of Counties refuting DOC statements that Missouri is the only state that charges room and board. Instead, although different formulas are used, every state pays per diem. She also said a 2015 program evaluation of county per diem payments completed by the DOC showed they had studied the issue, although its officials claimed otherwise.

“The state funding must be appropriated to pay the bills owed by the state and the per diem should be the responsibility of the state,” she said.

Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott spoke next, discussing concerns about the direction taken by the DOC and the Division of Probation and Parole.

“Probation issues are a continued failure from the top of this organization. Our local P&P officers’ hands are being tied by not being able to recommend revocation. I talked to our circuit judge about three hours ago. He told me he sees offenders with 15 to 20 violations with no recommendation for revocation from Probation and Parole. We have proof that offenders are going to the P&P office, taking urine tests, showing positive for methamphetamine, then they simply walk out the door, get into a vehicle and drive off. This is a public safety issue. This puts Missouri’s citizens’ lives in danger every day,” he said, reiterating that those scenarios were not the fault of the P&P officer but rather from leadership in the DOC.

Sheriff Arnott also criticized the practice of rewarding parolees with gift cards for showing up on time at appointments.

“This is ridiculous! Do you know what the reward is? Not being locked up in jail and not going to prison. This philosophy has to change. If we want to hand out gift cards, let’s give them to Missourians who have been victimized – not criminals. We must remember that our entire justice system is based around taking care of victims. We want our message to be clear. Missouri’s sheriffs will continue to be vigilant and tough on crime but legislators, we need your assistance to change the philosophy of this department,” he said.

Johnson County Sheriff Scott Munsterman addressed the group next, talking about bond reform.

“In the reform, they labeled drugs and drug offenders as ‘non-violent crime.’ I disagree. Drug offenders are not only a danger to themselves, they are also a danger to the communities we represent. During investigations of crimes in our communities, we’re dealing with drug offenders every day and see that they’re tied in with burglaries, car larcenies, and simple property crimes. Drug offenders are utilizing citizens’ assets to help supplement their addiction,” he said, adding that although they arrest the offenders, reforms require sheriffs to simply issue a summons to appear in court and then release them back into the community where they continue to reoffend.

And individuals are not following through and showing up in court. Sheriff Munsterman said since the new rules went into effect, the failure to appear rate in Johnson County has increased 28 percent. In neighboring Cass County, that number jumped 48 percent.

He closed by sharing a statement from a friend that “non-violent” does not mean “non-dangerous,” stressing that those who were breaking into cars and homes to steal and supplement their drug addictions were dangerous and needed to be behind bars.

“To sum up, we are here to protect the local law-abiding tax payer,” Sheriff Parrish said, adding that sheriffs recognize and respect those who are assisting offenders in becoming better citizens. “But the pendulum has swung too far. It’s very simple to not have to follow any guidelines. Follow the law.”
 
By Nancy Zoellner

Missouri Sheriffs Rally at the State Capitol in Jefferson City

Some 50 sheriffs stood shoulder-to-shoulder in Missouri’s capitol on Wednesday, saying the new rules from the Missouri Supreme Court must change – and that they needed lawmakers’ help in accomplishing that.

The sheriffs shared how the new rules favor criminals instead of Missouri’s law-abiding citizens and reminded lawmakers that the justice system was based on taking care of victims.

Sheriffs also discussed how the state has fallen behind in payment of jail per diems – to the tune of $33.4 million as of December 2019.