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Missouri

Missouri is one of thirty-two states that have amended their constitutions to include rights for crime victims.

An amendment introduced during the 1990 legislative session was passed by the House of Representatives, but failed to pass out of the Senate by the end of the legislative session. It was successfully reintroduced and passed during the 1991 legislative session. In the General Election of 1992, 84% of Missouri voters supported passage of the constitutional amendment.

The amendment reads as follows:

ARTICLE I, SECTION 32

  1. Crime victims, as defined by law, shall have the following rights, as defined by law:
    1. The right to be present at all criminal justice proceedings at which the defendant has such right, including juvenile proceedings where the offense would have been a felony if committed by an adult;
    2. Upon request of the victim, the right to be informed of and heard at guilty pleas, bail hearings, sentencings, probation revocation hearings, and parole hearings, unless in the determination of the court the interests of justice require otherwise;
    3. The right to be informed of trials and preliminary hearings;
    4. The right to restitution, which shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other civil cause of action, or as otherwise provided by law;
    5. The right to the speedy disposition and appellate review of their cases, provided that nothing in this subdivision shall prevent the defendant from having sufficient time to prepare his defense;
    6. The right to reasonable protection from the defendant or any person acting on behalf of the defendant;
    7. The right to information concerning the escape of an accused from custody or confinement, the defendant's release and scheduling of the defendant's release from incarceration; and
    8. The right to information about how the criminal justice system works, the rights and the availability of services, and upon request of the victim the right to information about the crime.
  2. Notwithstanding section 20 of article I of this Constitution, upon a showing that the defendant poses a danger to a crime victim, the community, or any other person, the court may deny bail or may impose special conditions which the defendant and surety must guarantee.
  3. Nothing in this section shall be construed as creating a cause of action for money damages against the state, a county, a municipality, or any of the agencies, instrumentalities, or employees provided that the General Assembly may, by statutory enactment, reverse, modify, or supersede any judicial decision or rule arising from any cause of action brought pursuant to this section.
  4. Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize a court to set aside or to void a finding of guilt, or an acceptance of a plea of guilty in any criminal case.
  5. The general assembly shall have power to enforce this section by appropriate legislation.