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House Votes for Tougher Rape Sentences

April 24, 2002
By: Christopher Shields
State Capital Bureau

The House gave its first-round support to stengthen sentences for rape.

Christopher Shields has the story from Jefferson City.

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The bill would increase the minimum sentence from 5 to 10 years for attempted and forcible rape and sodomy.

If a rapist uses a deadly weapon or causes serious physical injury the minimum sentence increases to 15 years.

Representative Mark Wright, the bill's sponsor began investigating rape laws after two women were raped in Springfield.

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Contents: I have found that the penalties here in Missouri, that the minimum penalties are very lenient and not in concordance with the surounding states.

The bill awaits final approval by the house.

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A bill designed to toughen sentences for rape would also allow authorities to collect more than finger prints.

I'm Christopher Shields for Missouri Capitol Caucus.

The bill increases minimum sentences for rape by 5 years.

Along with tougher sentences an amendment to the bill allows law enforcement to collect saliva DNA samples for felony arrests.

Representative Robert Mayer questioned the amendment sponsor, Gary Burton about people found innocent of crimes.

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Contents: Let's say subsequently that the defendant is found not guilty and released. What happens then with the DNA? Same thing with finger print records, kept on file. The purpose of this is that you try to build up a large enough DNA evidence file then you might be able to match more crimes.

The bill recieved first-round approval from the house.

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Tougher sentences for rape and expanded law enforcement authority recieved first-round approval in the house.

Christopher Shields has more from Jefferson City.

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The bill would increase the minimum sentence for rape by 5 years.

One of the amendments to the bill grants law enforcement the power to take DNA saliva samples from anyone arrested for a felony violation.

Representative Matt Bartle questioned amendment sponsor Gary Burton if this amendment goes down a slippery slope.

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Contents: Would you support legislation that would require all of our citizens to submit DNA samples for the government to build a nationwide database? I don't think I'd have a problem with that if you do it the same way you do the finger print database.

The bill awaits final approval by the house.

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A bill requiring tougher sentences for rapists also grants authorities the power to take DNA samples.

Christopher Shields has more from Jefferson City.

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The bill, which recieved first-round approval from the house increases mandatory minimum sentences for rapists by 5 years.

It includes a provision that allows law enforcement to collect saliva DNA samples from anyone arrested for a suspected felony violation.

Representative Matt Bartle told amendment sponsor Gary Burton that people might have problems with his amendment.

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Contents: I think there would be a lot of folks that would be real uncomfortable with a government kept database of every single persons' DNA, sounds a little scary to me. That seems a little far fetched to have very single DNA evidence. I think all we're talking about here is what they do on a crime scene.

The bill now awaits a final vote in the house.

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