☰ Revisor of Missouri


Chapter 565

< > Effective - 01 Jan 2017, 2 histories, see footnote    bottom

  565.035.  Supreme court to review all death sentences, procedure — powers of court — assistant to court authorized, duties. — 1.  Whenever the death penalty is imposed in any case, and upon the judgment becoming final in the trial court, the sentence shall be reviewed on the record by the supreme court of Missouri.  The circuit clerk of the court trying the case, within ten days after receiving the transcript, shall transmit the entire record and transcript to the supreme court together with a notice prepared by the circuit clerk and a report prepared by the trial judge.  The notice shall set forth the title and docket number of the case, the name of the defendant and the name and address of his attorney, a narrative statement of the judgment, the offense, and the punishment prescribed.  The report by the judge shall be in the form of a standard questionnaire prepared and supplied by the supreme court of Missouri.

  2.  The supreme court of Missouri shall consider the punishment as well as any errors enumerated by way of appeal.

  3.  With regard to the sentence, the supreme court shall determine:

  (1)  Whether the sentence of death was imposed under the influence of passion, prejudice, or any other arbitrary factor; and

  (2)  Whether the evidence supports the jury's or judge's finding of a statutory aggravating circumstance as enumerated in subsection 2 of section 565.032 and any other circumstance found;

  (3)  Whether the sentence of death is excessive or disproportionate to the penalty imposed in similar cases, considering both the offense, the strength of the evidence and the defendant.

  4.  Both the defendant and the state shall have the right to submit briefs within the time provided by the supreme court, and to present oral argument to the supreme court.

  5.  The supreme court shall include in its decision a reference to those similar cases which it took into consideration.  In addition to its authority regarding correction of errors, the supreme court, with regard to review of death sentences, shall be authorized to:

  (1)  Affirm the sentence of death; or

  (2)  Set the sentence aside and resentence the defendant to life imprisonment without eligibility for probation, parole, or release except by act of the governor; or

  (3)  Set the sentence aside and remand the case for retrial of the punishment hearing.  A new jury shall be selected or a jury may be waived by agreement of both parties and then the punishment trial shall proceed in accordance with this chapter, with the exception that the evidence of the guilty verdict shall be admissible in the new trial together with the official transcript of any testimony and evidence properly admitted in each stage of the original trial where relevant to determine punishment.

  6.  There shall be an assistant to the supreme court, who shall be an attorney appointed by the supreme court and who shall serve at the pleasure of the court.  The court shall accumulate the records of all cases in which the sentence of death or life imprisonment without probation or parole was imposed after May 26, 1977, or such earlier date as the court may deem appropriate.  The assistant shall provide the court with whatever extracted information the court desires with respect thereto, including but not limited to a synopsis or brief of the facts in the record concerning the offense and the defendant.  The court shall be authorized to employ an appropriate staff, within the limits of appropriations made for that purpose, and such methods to compile such data as are deemed by the supreme court to be appropriate and relevant to the statutory questions concerning the validity of the sentence.  The office of the assistant to the supreme court shall be attached to the office of the clerk of the supreme court for administrative purposes.

  7.  In addition to the mandatory sentence review, there shall be a right of direct appeal of the conviction to the supreme court of Missouri.  This right of appeal may be waived by the defendant.  If an appeal is taken, the appeal and the sentence review shall be consolidated for consideration.  The court shall render its decision on legal errors enumerated, the factual substantiation of the verdict, and the validity of the sentence.


(L. 1983 S.B. 276, A.L. 1984 S.B. 448 § A, A.L. 2014 S.B. 491)

Effective 1-01-17

(1995) The word "arbitrary" is to be read narrowly to describe rogue factors like passion and prejudice that a jury should not deliberate upon when it imposes a sentence of death.  Oxford v. Delo, 59 F.3d 741 (8th Cir.).

---- end of effective  01 Jan 2017 ----

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565.035 1/1/2017
565.035 10/1/1984 1/1/2017

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