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Lifetime probation for certain sex offenders in Missouri may be unconstitutional

On Behalf of | Mar 30, 2017 | The Shield |

A couple of laws that took effect on January 1, 2017, order Probation and Parole to supervise certain sex offenders for life and require electronic monitoring for life. But aspects of these laws may be unconstitutional (read as I think they are unconstitutional as hell but the Court hasn’t ruled).

RSMo § 559.106 and RSMo § 217.735 require the lifetime supervision by Probation and Parole of certain sex offenders and that they be required to maintain electronic monitoring at a cost of at least $30 a month for life. The problem — beside the ridiculous draconian aspect of the penalty when research shows that sex offenders have one of the lowest recidivism rates of any crime — is that Missouri’s pair of statutes look back to anyone convicted of those certain sex offenses since 2006.

There are a significant number of Missourians who pleaded guilty to the affected classes of offenses and served their time. While they may be on the sex offender registry, they are not subject to probation and parole supervision.

Let’s be honest the crimes committed by the offenders impacted by these laws are disturbing to most people: Rape in the first degree, Statutory Rape in the first degree, Statutory Sodomy in the first degree, Sodomy in the first degree, Child molestation in the first degree, Sexual misconduct involving a child, Sexual abuse in the first degree, Enticement of a Child, Incest, Sexual Trafficking of a child first and second degree, Child used in sexual performance, and Promoting sexual performance by a child. Horrible offenses to be sure.

But the phrase we have for these laws is ex post facto.

Ex post facto laws are specifically prohibited in the actual text of the United States Constitution. Article I Section 9 Clause 3 and Article I Section 10 prohibit ex post facto laws by the federal and state governments respectively.

Paragraph 1 of both RSMo § 559.106 and RSMo § 217.735 run afoul of the Constitution by imposing additional penalties on prior offenders. As the imposition of lifetime electronic monitoring and lifetime parole, adds significant real penalties and cost, I don’t think the first paragraph of the statutes will hold up to challenge.

If you or someone you know is impacted by these new laws, go get an attorney. The challenge must be made before too many people are harmed.