Missouri’s…. SB666 dubbed the “Make Murder Legal Act” which actually has had a senate committee hearing !

One would have thought that the Bill number would say it all about this grubby piece of legislation inspired by gun-toting lawyer Mark McCloskey a man who should by all rights be in the insane asylum but instead in this day and age is a Missouri Senate Republican candidate ( the other madhouse).

I have to say i do despair for the lives of our children when people like this have a say about anything.




Law & Crime report

Mark McCloskey, an attorney and pardonee-turned-Senate candidate, is leveraging his gun-hero status to support a Missouri bill nicknamed the “Make Murder Legal Act” by its opponents. The legislation, which happens to be numbered S.B. 666, is a Republican-driven effort to upend one of the most standard procedures in criminal law and to expand Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine.”

You’ll likely remember McCloskey as the lawyer who, along with his attorney wife Patricia McCloskey, brandished weapons as Black Lives Matter protesters marched through their gated community in June 2020 following George Floyd’s death. The couple pleaded guilty to firearm charges but, but Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) pardoned each of the McCloskeys after their initial twin guilty pleas.

Parson’s widely-criticized decision to pardon the McCloskeys was ostensibly based on Missouri’s “Castle Doctrine,” which authorizes individuals to show force against intruders and trespassers. Now, McCloskey has endorsed a revamped self-defense law that would make it harder for the government to prosecute offenders and even some violent criminals in Missouri.

The McCloskeys attended a Missouri Senate hearing on Wednesday as S.B. 666 was debated.



Here’s what the bill does.

(1)  S.B. 666 changes the burden of proof for self defense.

The bill starts by recapping the current state of criminal law in Missouri in prosecutions where defendants claim self defense.

“Under current law, the defendant has the burden to prove he or she reasonably believed physical or deadly force was necessary to protect him or herself or a third person,” the bill says.

In other words, if a person who is being prosecuted for a crime seeks to defend their actions by claiming they acted in self defense, that person would normally need to prove all of the required elements of self defense. That means the accused must prove that they feared for their safety or the safety of another person, that the fear was objectively reasonable under the circumstances, and that they used force in response to their belief that force was necessary to protect themself or others.

This is about as standard as it gets. And not just for self defense, either.

In most legal contexts, whether in the criminal or the civil world, a defendant seeking to evade liability has the right to raise various defenses. However, it’s usually the defendant’s task to prove the respective elements of any defense raised. If the defendant successfully proves those elements, the defense neutralizes liability. In general terms, prosecutors must prove the elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt, defendants must prove the elements of a defense — usually by a lesser standard. In self-defense cases, the ultimate gravamen of the action usually surrounds on the “reasonableness” of the fear articulated by the defendant. “Objective” reasonableness is a big-picture standard that doesn’t measure the defendant’s fear. Rather, it measures whether the situation as a whole should have been perceived as fearful by someone thinking logically in the defendant’s shoes. A defendant whose fears were unreasonable, exaggerated, or blown out of proportion will lose a self-defense claim.

Supporters of S.B. 666, however, wish to change the workload for criminal defendants. So, S.B. 666 seeks to alter those longstanding rules as follows: it “provides that there shall be a presumption of reasonableness that the defendant believed such force was necessary to defend him or herself or a third person.”

A “presumption of reasonableness” means a switching of roles: an accused murderer, for example, would be automatically presumed to have acted in reasonable self defense (that is, if he raises the defense in the first place). Prosecutors would be forced to then prove an official narrative to the contrary by “clear and convincing evidence” — a lesser standard than the usual proof “beyond a reasonable doubt” but still a significant hurdle. The law essentially adds entirely new elements to crimes and thus lengthens the list of what prosecutors must prove. And proving those proposed elements could get tricky when there aren’t independent witnesses, solid forensics, or video evidence of a killing.

If prosecutors can defeat the self-defense claim, they’d then be required to prove the core murder charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

That’s not all, either. S.B. 666 goes a step further to protect those accused of violent crimes.

(2)  S.B. 666 prevents police from even arresting certain offenders.

The bill provides that while “a law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use or threatened use of force,” it may not arrest the offender “unless the agency determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used or threatened was unlawful.” Such a change forces police to make decisions usually reserved for prosecutors or even juries.

Under this new regime, cops would need to evaluate an offender’s violence through the lens of presumed self-defense. Unless the police have “probable cause” (meaning an objectively reasonable belief) that a person did not act in self defense, those police are banned from even arresting the suspected offender.

Such a stripping of police power is a bit of a head-scratcher from the law-and-order set. As an editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch put it, “SB 666 doesn’t quite defund the police, but it certainly would defang them.” Indeed, the proposed law muddles the roles of cops and prosecutors, forcing police to conduct a heightened legal analysis about a suspect’s defense claims before even pulling out the handcuffs.

Furthermore, the changes proposed by S.B. 666 threaten to weaken the state’s evidence should any subsequent criminal prosecutions move forward. Police searches conducted incident to lawful arrests do not ordinarily require warrants. However, if the arrest itself becomes forbidden, the corresponding searches and seizures would be a related casualty, crippling the prosecutorial process in many cases.

Missouri Republicans, however, did offer a legislative crumb to “Back the Blue,” though.

(3)  S.B. 666 creates different procedural rules for crimes in which police officers are the victims.

The bill creates a separate set of rules for situations in which violence was committed against law enforcement officers themselves. Per the bill, any time a law enforcement officer is the victim, the burden-of-proof rules go back to normal. In crimes against cops, S.B. 666 would direct the authorities to presume nothing and to leave it to the accused to prove that they acted in self defense.

Per the bill, this exception applies any time “force was used against a law enforcement officer who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the person reasonably knew or should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer.”

Therefore, under Missouri’s proposed law, anyone who responds to the fear of police-induced violence has a weaker self-defense claim than those who defended themselves against ordinary civilians.

Let’s look at this concept using hypotheticals that are fresh in the public consciousness. Had any of the bystanders who watched George Floyd die intervened with force against since-convicted murderer cop Derek Chauvin, they would have had to prove their defense-of-another case in full. No benefit of the doubt would be afforded to them. Ahmaud Arbery’s killers, however, would have been within their rights (assuming S.B. 666 was in effect in their state) to thwart their own arrests by claiming that they acted in self-defense — which, of course, was what they claimed, though their efforts were eventually unsuccessful.

This carve-out falls directly in line with other legislative attempts to prioritize police victims over other victims, such as the creation of “Blue Lives Matter” laws.

Had S.B. 666 become law before the McCloskeys brandished their guns in front of peaceful protesters, they’d have also been entitled to a presumption that they were acting in self defense.

Perhaps most shocking of all is the backdrop against which S.B. 666 is set. In 2019, Missouri ranked 7th for gun deaths. In 2020, St. Louis recorded its highest murder rate in half a century.

S.B. 666 was sponsored by Sen. Eric Burlison (R) of the Missouri House of Representatives. Burlison is an investment advisor and not an attorney.

Former Congressional candidate Lindsey Simmons (D) tweeted opposition to the bill Wednesday, calling it “about one of the worst bills” she has ever seen — “[b]ecause this is Missouri and there’s no shortage of racism.”

Mark McCloskey did not immediately respond to Law&Crime’s request for comment.


The text of S.B. 666, as proposed, is below.

EXPLANATION-Matter enclosed in bold-faced brackets [thus] in this bill is not enacted and is intended to be omitted in the law.
AN ACT To repeal sections 563.016 and 563.031, RSMo, and to enact in lieu thereof two new sections relating to the use of self-defense. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Missouri, as follows: 1 Section A. Sections 563.016 and 563.031, RSMo, are 2 repealed and two new sections enacted in lieu thereof, to be 3 known as sections 563.031 and 563.085, to read as follows: 1 563.031.
1. A person may, subject to the provisions 2 of subsection 2 of this section, use physical force upon 3 another person when and to the extent he or she reasonably 4 believes such force to be necessary to defend himself or 5 herself or a third person from what he or she reasonably 6 believes to be the use or imminent use of unlawful force by 7 such other person, unless: 8 (1) The actor was the initial aggressor; except that 9 in such case his or her use of force is nevertheless 10 justifiable provided: 11 (a) He or she has withdrawn from the encounter and 12 effectively communicated such withdrawal to such other 13 person but the latter persists in continuing the incident by 14 the use or threatened use of unlawful force; or 15 (b) He or she is a law enforcement officer and as such 16 is an aggressor pursuant to section 563.046; or 17 (c) The aggressor is justified under some other 18 provision of this chapter or other provision of law;
SB 666 2 19 (2) Under the circumstances as the actor reasonably 20 believes them to be, the person whom he or she seeks to 21 protect would not be justified in using such protective 22 force; 23 (3) The actor was attempting to commit, committing, or 24 escaping after the commission of a forcible felony. 25 2. A person shall not use deadly force upon another 26 person under the circumstances specified in subsection 1 of 27 this section unless: 28 (1) He or she reasonably believes that such deadly 29 force is necessary to protect himself, or herself or her 30 unborn child, or another against death, serious physical 31 injury, or any forcible felony; 32 (2) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully 33 enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to 34 unlawfully enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle lawfully 35 occupied by such person; or 36 (3) Such force is used against a person who unlawfully 37 enters, remains after unlawfully entering, or attempts to 38 unlawfully enter private property that is owned or leased by 39 an individual, or is occupied by an individual who has been 40 given specific authority by the property owner to occupy the 41 property, claiming a justification of using protective force 42 under this section. 43 3. A person does not have a duty to retreat: 44 (1) From a dwelling, residence, or vehicle where the 45 person is not unlawfully entering or unlawfully remaining; 46 (2) From private property that is owned or leased by 47 such individual; or 48 (3) If the person is in any other location such person 49 has the right to be.
SB 666 3 50 4. The justification afforded by this section extends 51 to the use of physical restraint as protective force 52 provided that the actor takes all reasonable measures to 53 terminate the restraint as soon as it is reasonable to do so. 54 5. [The defendant shall have the burden of injecting 55 the issue of justification under this section. If a 56 defendant asserts that his or her use of force is described 57 under subdivision (2) of subsection 2 of this section, the 58 burden shall then be on the state to prove beyond a 59 reasonable doubt that the defendant did not reasonably 60 believe that the use of such force was necessary to defend 61 against what he or she reasonably believed was the use or 62 imminent use of unlawful force] There shall be a presumption 63 of reasonableness under this section that the defendant 64 believed such force was necessary to defend himself or 65 herself or a third person from what he or she believed to be 66 the use or imminent use of unlawful force by another person. 1 563.085. 1. A person who uses or threatens to use 2 force pursuant to section 563.031 is justified in such 3 conduct and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil 4 action for the use or threatened use of such force by the 5 person, personal representative, or heirs of the person 6 against whom the force was used or threatened, unless the 7 person against whom force was used or threatened is a law 8 enforcement officer who was acting in the performance of his 9 or her official duties and the officer identified himself or 10 herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person 11 using or threatening to use force knew or reasonably should 12 have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. 13 As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” 14 includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or 15 prosecuting the defendant.
SB 666 4 16 2. A law enforcement agency may use standard 17 procedures for investigating the use or threatened use of 18 force as described in subsection 1 of this section, but the 19 agency may not arrest the person for using or threatening to 20 use force unless the agency determines that there is 21 probable cause that the force that was used or threatened 22 was unlawful. 23 3. In a criminal prosecution or civil action, once a 24 prima facie claim of self-defense immunity has been raised 25 by the defendant at a pretrial immunity hearing, the burden 26 of proof by clear and convincing evidence is on the party 27 seeking to overcome the immunity provided in subsection 1 of 28 this section. 1 [563.016. The fact that conduct is 2 justified under this chapter does not abolish or 3 impair any remedy for such conduct which is 4 available in any civil actions.]