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NCJ Number: 50773 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL LAW - SENTENCING PROVISIONS IN THE NEW MISSOURI CRIMINAL CODE
Journal: MISSOURI LAW REVIEW  Volume:43  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1978)  Pages:549-562
Author(s): W L ALLINDER
Corporate Author: University of Missouri
School of Law
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: University of Missouri
Columbia, MO 65201
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: CONSISTENCY HAS BEEN INCORPORATED IN THE MISSOURI CRIMINAL CODE BY CLASSIFYING CRIMES INTO DISTINCT SENTENCING CATEGORIES, REQUIRING THAT JURIES KNOW ABOUT ALLOWABLE PENALTIES, AND APPELLATE REVIEW OF SENTENCES.
Abstract: UNDER THE CODE, THE COURT'S FUNCTION IS TO DECIDE THE EXTENT OR DURATION OF SENTENCE OR OTHER DISPOSITION TO BE IMPOSED FOR ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. RESTRICTIONS ARE PLACED ON THE COURT IN THE FORM OF AUTHORIZED RANGES OF PUNISHMENTS FOR DIFFERENT CLASSES OF OFFENSES, AUTHORIZED DISPOSITIONS FOR DIFFERENT CLASSES OF OFFENSES, AND FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE PROPER DISPOSITION. FOR ALL OFFENSES UNDER THE CODE, THERE ARE SPECIFIED DISPOSITIONS THAT MAY BE MADE BY THE COURT, ALLOCATED BY CLASS OF OFFENSE AND TO SOME EXTENT BY TYPE OF OFFENDER. THE CODE DETAILS AUTHORIZED DISPOSITIONS FOR FELONIES, MISDEMEANORS, AND INFRACTIONS. THERE IS A SEPARATE LIST OF AUTHORIZED DISPOSITIONS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL OFFENDERS. THE IMPOSITION OF A FINE IS SUBJECT TO EXTENSIVE RESTRICTIONS. THE COURT IS GIVEN THE OPTION OF PLACING A PERSON ON PROBATION FOR A SPECIFIC PERIOD UPON CONVICTION OF ANY OFFENSE OR UPON SUSPENDING THE IMPOSITION OF A SENTENCE. OTHER REQUIREMENTS OF THE CODE ARE A PRESENTENCE REPORT BEFORE DISPOSITION IN ALL FELONY CASES, A SENTENCING FUNCTION FOR THE JURY, AND A RESTRICTION ON THE COURT FROM IMPOSING A TERM OF IMPRISONMENT GREATER THAN THAT DECLARED BY THE JURY. THE CODE SEEMS TO REQUIRE A MORE ACTIVE ROLE FOR THE TRIAL COURT IN DETERMINING THE PROPER DISPOSITION AND LIMITS THE COURT ONLY WITH REGARD TO A JURY-DECLARED PRISON TERM. A PROVISION IN THE CODE REQUIRES JURY INSTRUCTION ON THE RANGE OF AUTHORIZED IMPRISONMENT TERMS, EVEN THOUGH THE COURT HAS EXCLUSIVE SENTENCING AUTHORITY. SENTENCING PROVISIONS OF THE CODE ARE SUFFICIENTLY PRECISE IN MOST AREAS TO FACILITATE INTERPRETATION. MAJOR AMBIGUITIES ARE THE LACK OF A CLEAR DEFINITION OF THE JURY'S ROLE, THE BREADTH OF INSTRUCTIONS THE JURY SHOULD RECEIVE, AND WHEN THE JURY IS TO BE INSTRUCTED. ALTHOUGH THE CODE EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT THE JURY IS TO ASSESS AND DECLARE PUNISHMENT AS PART OF ITS VERDICT, IT DOES NOT SPECIFY WHEN THE JURY IS TO HAVE A SENTENCING FUNCTION OR THE EXTENT OF THE JURY'S AUTHORITY. PROVISIONS OF THE CODE ARE VIEWED AS A COMPROMISE BETWEEN PROPONENTS OF EXCLUSIVE COURT SENTENCING AND APPELLATE REVIEW AND PROPONENTS OF JURY SENTENCING. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Dispositions; Juries; Missouri; Offenders; Offenses; Sentencing/Sanctions; State laws; Trial courts
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