Lawmakers in Jefferson City passed a measure aimed at protecting juveniles who have been accused and convicted of a sex crime. In July, Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill and is now on the road seeking support for his hope that lawmakers will not overturn the veto.
The bill aims to have the names of Missouri kids convicted of a juvenile sex offense kept off of Internet websites providing personal information about convicted sex offenders. The measure also allowed people who were convicted of a sex crime as a juvenile offender who are now adults to seek to have their names withdrawn from the public registries provided that five years have passed since the conviction was entered (or five years after they were released from prison, if applicable).
Many younger juveniles have been listed on these registries, even when the allegations involved juvenile indiscretion in consensual relationships among kids. The bill ran through the bill unopposed with a 153 to 0 vote. It passed the Senate on a 28 to 4 count.
Governor Nixon says too many people may potentially benefit from having their youthful indiscretions erased from the public scrutiny. He has been making appearances seeking support against an override of his veto.
Lawmakers are slated to assemble in Jefferson City on September 11 to consider any veto overrides. Some lawmakers believe that the juvenile sex offender notification measure is a prime candidate for a veto override.
Juvenile courts have traditionally been concerned with rehabilitation and giving kids a second chance. But, as we move through the 21st century, commentators say that prosecutors seem to be looking for to more harsh punishments of juvenile offenders. A juvenile may challenge the state’s case in juvenile court from the outset and have the representation of a juvenile defense lawyer.
Source: CBS St. Louis, “Vetoed Bill Could Affect 870 Missouri Sex Offenders,” Aug. 21, 2013