House Bill 301 has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in Missouri over
the past several weeks. The bill proposed significant changes to the state's
current policy regarding convicted sex offenders and the Missouri sex
offender registry. Under HB 301, those who were convicted of a sex crime
requiring sex offender registration while under the age of 18 would be
eligible to have their public information removed from the registry. Other
offenders convicted of sex crimes as juveniles would also be eligible,
depending on the situation. You can read more about
HB 301 on one of our previous blog.
While the debate regarding the terms of HB 301 may be far from over, its
battle in the legislator is. On September 1, Missouri legislators agreed
to sustain Governor Jay Nixon's veto of the bill. As noted by Nixon,
HB 301 could potentially have had a large and potentially negative impact
not only on public safety, but also the state's budget.
If passed, HB 301 could have potentially resulted in more than 800 convicted
sex offenders being removed from the public sex offender registry. The
argument voiced by supporters was that such harsh social stigmas and public
sex offender registration were severe punishments and that those who were
convicted of sex crimes as minors deserved a second chance. HB 301 would
have been their chance to have their name, photo, and address removed
from public law enforcement websites.Governor Nixon's rebuttal to
this argument was that it simply created too much of a risk to public safety.
Perhaps the largest impact HB 301 would have had, however, was financial.
The Missouri Department of Public Safety receives an annual subsidy from
the U.S. federal government to aid the state's criminal justice and
law enforcement systems. Annual funds exceed $5 million a year. If HB
301 were to pass, Missouri risked taking a cut to this subsidy because
the state would have been in violation of the federal Sex Offender Registration
and Notification Act.
Harsh Consequences for Sex Offenders in Missouri
Whatever the case may be, the veto on HB 301 was upheld. For those who
currently stand accused of sex crimes in Missouri, this veto highlights
a few things. First, leniency and tolerance in relation to sex crimes
are hard to come by; these offenses are among the most stigmatized and
harshly viewed. Second, the state of Missouri's tough policy on convicted
sex offenders will remain in place. This means that those who are convicted
of a registerable sex crime face severe, life-altering consequences.
Such a tough stance on keeping harsh Missouri sex crime laws in place should
prompt anyone who stands accused of a sex crime into understanding that
the need for experienced legal representation is of the utmost importance.
At The Hammer Law Firm, LLC, our St. Louis sex crime lawyers know full-well
that clients facing
sex crime allegations often have every aspect of their life on the line. Knowing
this, we work tirelessly to provide the support, step-by-step guidance,
and aggressive representation they need to protect their freedom and future.
If you or your loved one currently stands accused of a sex offense, do
not delay in contacting a Missouri sex crime lawyer from our firm as soon
as possible. Request your
free case evaluation to discuss your case.