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An anti-carjacking proposal is one step closer to becoming law in Missouri

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04/09/2019 09:02 PM
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An anti-carjacking proposal is one step closer to becoming law in Missouri
JEFFERSON CITY • The Missouri House gave initial approval on Tuesday to a measure that would define "vehicle hijacking" in state statute — despite concerns from some lawmakers that the proposal was in conflict with efforts to reduce the state's prison population.

The legislation, sponsored by Rep. David Gregory, R-Fenton, defines vehicle hijacking offenses and outlines minimum sentences.

Current law leads to inconsistent sentences and makes the outcomes of carjacking prosecutions harder to track, the sponsors say.

The proposal would make such crimes easier to track and create uniform sentencing guidelines, according to Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, and Gregory.

Gregory said prosecutors currently use an assortment of different statutes to punish carjackers, leading to sentences ranging from probation to felony convictions.

The attorney general’s office, the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and other organizations, including the St Louis County Police Association, support the legislation.

Under the proposal, carjacking without a weapon would be classified as a Class B felony, which would carry a minimum five-year sentence.

If an assailant uses, or threatens to use a dangerous weapon, the crime would be classified as a Class A felony, with a 10-year minimum sentence.

Democrats worried the law would lead to unintended consequences.

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