MADP is dedicated to working with legislators across the state in our efforts to Abolish the death penalty. Through community empowerment we believe we can facilitate progress to educate our representatives by connecting them to those most impacted by the death penalty. As we strive to ensure the constitutional rights of those facing death sentences, we work year round within multi-partisan coalitions striving toward a more equitable and just criminal legal system.

Pre-filing in Missouri started on December 1 2020, and bills have already been filed by members of both political parties that would take positives steps towards ending the death penalty system. Missourians for Alternatives to the death penalty will be following these bills in 2021.

Bills include:

HB 462 - Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-98), Eliminates Judicial Override  - Support

SB 341 - Sen. Bill White (R-161) - Eliminates Judicial Override - Support

HB 278 - Rep. Tom Hannegan (R-65), Severe Mental Illness Exemption - Support

HB 50 - Rep. Sarah Unsicker (D-91) - Full Repeal - Support

HB 127 - Rep. Ian Mackey (D-87) - Full Repeal - Support

HB 157 - Rep. Rudy Veit (R-) - Change of Venue Death Penalty Fund - Oppose

Important Issues

Judicial Override - Judicial Override is the unconstitutional practice when judges override a deadlocked jury to impose death sentences. Only two states allow for this - Missouri and Indiana. No Missouri jury has imposed a death sentence since 2013. The last two death sentences (2017 and 2018) have been judge imposed, and three men are currently living under death sentences imposed by judges, not juries of their peers. Eliminating judicial override could stop new death sentences in Missouri. 

Costs of the Death Penalty -  We know that Missouri’s capital punishment is arbitrarily applied, more often in counties that can afford it. The fiscal impact of the death penalty in Missouri has never been studied. We expect this conversation to ramp up in 2021 as legislation has been filed to create a fund to reimburse counties who sequester jurors from other counties for capital cases. Because Missouri has never done a cost study, MADP is working with interested legislators to bring attention to the hidden costs of capital punishment. In a state with a 400 million dollar budgetary shortfall, it’s time to address the high costs of preserving this antiquated punishment.

Full Repeal - Missouri is one of several states that focuses on abolishing the death penalty by attrition. States like Colorado, which achieved full legislative repeal in 2020, have very few people living under a death sentence. Colorado Governor Jared Polis acknowledged that “the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.” Two full repeal bills have been pre-filed for 2021 HB 127 by Ian Mackey  (D-87) and HB 50 by Sarah Unsicker (D-91).

With support from multiple coalitions as well as a diverse set of advocates working together on these issues, the possibilities of Abolishing the death penalty in Missouri is growing. 


Support death penalty abolition in Missouri by making a donation today!