Local sheriffs upset over “catch and release” rules handed down by Missouri Supreme Court

Local sheriffs upset over "catch and release" rules handed down by Missouri Supreme Court

(excerpt from KY 3 The Place July 16 2019)

GAINESVILLE, Mo. -- Violent offenders would have a warrant issued for their arrest, and likely, a high bond set. But some sheriffs say lower level criminals are getting off way too easily, due to new rules handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court on July 1.

Some of the new rules require the associate circuit judge to issue a summons instead of a warrant with a bond, if the suspect is not a threat to the victim or the community.

But at least four local sheriffs-- all in rural Missouri-- are frustrated with the new rules. They say, for instance, someone could go out into the county, steal a bunch of farm equipment, possibly tens of thousands of dollars worth, and instead of getting a warrant issued for their arrest, and a high bond set, they'd just get a summons-- possibly even to a fake address-- and then they may or may not ever show up for court.

"I work for what I got. The people in this community work for what they have and it seems like our Supreme Court is worried about the rights of the offender, what about the rights of the good people in our community!" said Douglas County sheriff Chris Degase. Laclede County sheriff David Millsap has also expressed similar concerns.

“The Missouri Supreme Court has basically given a free pass to those who are repeatedly breaking into our houses, our businesses, stealing vehicles or dealing drugs. When we make an arrest, regardless of how many burglaries you have committed in the past, or vehicles you have stolen, if you have no violent crime in your criminal history, and you make it to your court dates, you will get a summons to appear in court, instead of sitting in jail waiting to have your case go through the court system,” Millsap said.

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