Some advocates of new Missouri law about to take legal effect that will materially adjust the state's sex offender registration scheme might simply note its provisions in a dispassionate way.
Others, though, might express sentiments that are emotionally laden and additionally offer this view: It's about time.
There are reportedly close to 20,000 individuals in Missouri who are entrants on the state's Sex Offender Registry.
That compilation is notably harsh. Current law essentially ignores distinctions between offenders and details concerning their convictions. One recent media report spotlighting Missouri registry law notes that state officials have long promoted the practice of simply "grouping all offenders together."
Critics have understandably railed against that lack of differentiation. They stress its unfairness against individuals who suffer enduring consequences despite committing arguably trivial offenses (for example, a lifelong registration duty following a conviction for urinating in public).
We succinctly note on our website at the established St. Louis criminal defense law firm of Frank, Juengel & Radefeld that, "Being listed on the sex offender registry impacts your entire life."
Although that is dire, indeed, the often punitive outcomes resulting from registry requirements will now be softened somewhat in select cases by significant legal changes that are about to take effect. Missouri Senate Bill 655 is slated to become new law next week on August 28, and it promises relief for some lower-level offenders from a lifetime of onerous reporting requirements and personal stigma.
The new legislation establishes various tiers. Lowest-risk registrants will have less exacting reporting duties than high-level offenders. They will also become eligible to request removal from the registry in an expedited manner.
Details concerning SB 655 will emerge with clarity as the law gains traction. We will keep readers well informed concerning the details.