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House Endorses Longer Jail Time for Suspects

February 5, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

From jaywalking to capitol murder, police officers would be able to hold all suspects up to 30 hours without charging them under a proposal that has first round approval from the Missouri House of Representatives.

Missy Shelton reports.

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Right now, law enforcement officers arrest suspects and hold them for 20 hours without charging them.

In cases involving a dangerous felony, officers can hold suspects up to 24 hours.

But a majority of lawmakers in the House voted to extend that time for all crimes, felonies and misdemeanors to 30 hours.

Republican legislator Robert Mayer explains why cops need more time.

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Opponents argue the proposal violates civil liberties in favor of giving law enforcement more power.

House Democrat Vicki Walker.

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Other lawmakers expressed concerns about allowing suspects to be held for 30 hours for relatively minor offenses like littering or jaywalking.

House democrat Barbara Fraser says given that, she's worried about the impact on young adults.

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During debate on the House floor, bill sponsor Bryan Stevenson responded to Fraser's concerns.

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The bill faces a final vote in the House. If approved, the bill would move to the senate for consideration.

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