VIDEO: Legislation would give chance at parole to man serving 241 years in prison and others like him

An effort by state legislators to give a chance at parole to a man sentenced to 241 years in prison has led to a broader effort to offer parole to all Missouri inmates facing similar situations.

Judge Evelyn Baker and Representatives Nick Schroer and Barbara Washington talk about a legislative effort to give a chance at parole to Bobby Bostic, who Baker sentenced to 241 years in prison in 1995. (Photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Bobby Bostic committed a series of crimes in 1995 when he was 16 and was given a series of consecutive sentences.  A 2010 Supreme Court ruling that people under 18 who did not kill anyone could not be sentenced to life without parole doesn’t apply to him because he was not sentenced to life.  He would not be eligible for parole until the age of 112.  All judicial avenues to offer Bostic an earlier release have been exhausted.

Last year more than 100 state lawmakers signed a letter to Governor Mike Parson (R) asking him to consider Bostic’s petition for clemency.  They joined those victimized in Bostic’s crimes and the judge who sentenced him in saying Bostic has reformed himself, and deserves a chance at parole.

O’Fallon representative Nick Schroer (R) has worked to bring attention to Bostic’s situation and has led the effort to drum up support.  He said he knows that the Parson administration is sifting through thousands of clemency requests.  While that process continues, he has filed House Bill 2201, which aims to give people sentenced to long terms and life as a juvenile a chance at parole.

“2201 fixes the technicality that prevents Bobby and others like him in this situation the ability to obtain the relief that the Supreme Court envisioned [in that 2010 ruling],” said Schroer.

Kansas City representative Barbara Washington (D) has also spearheaded this effort and is a cosponsor of HB 2201.  She said it could help others besides Bostic.

“We must think about what we’re doing with our juveniles.  We must understand that a 16 year-old who grew up in Bobby’s situation; who didn’t have anyone to look up to, who didn’t have a community that made sure he went to school, didn’t have a mentor to make sure that he got a job, who didn’t have teachers who looked at him as a good kid that was going down the wrong road.  It is important and imperative that we pass House Bill 2201 so that we make sure that no other juveniles suffer this fate,” said Washington.

Judge Evelyn Baker handed Bobby his 241-year sentence and now wants to see him given a chance at freedom.

“He’s written books, he writes poetry, he is trying to help as many people as he can in a confined environment.  He can do so much more to help others if we let him out.  I think justice cries for him to be released,” said Judge Baker.  “We talk about rehabilitation.  He is the epitome of a rehabilitated child who became a man in the true sense of the word ‘man.’”

Schroer said he does not know how many other people in situations like Bostic’s are in Missouri prisons and might benefit from passage of this bill, but he does believe there are others.

“This one case is the tip of the spear, so to speak, where we now see there are these technical issues and other issues preventing people from getting the relief when they are fully rehabilitated, so I think that we need to go forward with House Bill 2201,” said Schroer.

He said from the standpoint of being fiscally conservative, the more people who have been rehabilitated and therefore can be released from Missouri prisons, the better for the state and its economy.

“We are wasting more money locking people up that could be contributing to society as solid Missourians once again,” said Schroer.

Schroer is hopeful his bill will be assigned to a committee and receive a hearing soon.

Earlier stories:

Judge who sentenced man to 241 years meets with lawmakers seeking his clemency

State lawmakers to ask governor for clemency for man sentenced as teen to 241 years

House bill to relax mandatory minimum sentencing signed into law

Judges will be able to ignore Missouri’s mandatory minimum sentencing requirements in some cases, under a House Bill that was signed into law this week by Governor Mike Parson (R).

Representative Cody Smith (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Missouri law requires that offenders with one prior conviction serve at least 40-percent of a prison term.  Those with two prior convictions must serve at least half their term, and those with three or more must serve 80-percent.

House Bill 192 contained language that would give judges flexibility in sentencing for some nonviolent offenses.  It was part of a broader look at criminal justice reform that House members have been pursuing over several sessions.

The language was proposed by Representative Cody Smith (R-Carthage).

“When Governor Parson signed House Bill 192 that was the most significant mandatory minimum sentencing reform, to my knowledge, that we’ve ever had in Missouri,” said Smith.  “That’s an incredibly rewarding feeling when we know that it’s become clear that harsh mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent crimes only leads to bad outcomes, and this is a way that we can start to help change the trajectory of people’s lives.”

Smith said the number of people in Missouri’s prisons has steadily grown for decades.  He said many of those being incarcerated are non-violent offenders, who have a high rate of recidivism and of committing increasingly violent offenses.

“I’ve heard it said that prison is finishing school for hardened criminals,” said Smith.  “You go in for something that may be relatively innocuous in terms of violence … you come out and you’re a hardened criminal.”

Smith, who is also the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said reducing Missouri’s prison populations would also save the state money.  He notes that as recently as 2017, Missouri was on track to need two new prisons to accommodate the growing number of offenders.

“I believe that the mandatory minimum reform language that’s in House Bill 192 will help deter those costs by keeping people out of prison – again we’re talking only about folks convicted of non-violent crimes – keeping them out of prison is better for them, better for their families, better for society, and also better for taxpayers who don’t have to pay to keep them in prison.”

Ballwin representative Shamed Dogan (R) chairs the House Special Committee on Criminal Justice, which handled not only HB 192, but Smith’s original legislation, House Bill 113.  He said the mandatory minimum sentencing changes will allow judges those cases to be judges.

“That is something that will give people more second chances – people who shouldn’t be in prison as long as that mandatory sentence would determine,” said Dogan.  “A judge can look at that person’s overall life; they can look at the particulars of their offense, and really just letting judges do their job, which is to make tough decisions without having their hands tied behind their backs by mandatory minimum sentences.”

Other language in HB 192 will keep counties from putting an individual back in jail for failing to pay the cost of his or her earlier jail term.

The bill’s provisions take effect August 28.

Legislature proposes reforms to end ‘debtor’s prisons,’ mandatory minimum sentences

The Legislature has approved bipartisan legislation that would keep Missourians from being put back in jail for failing to pay the costs of being put in jail; and would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes.

Representative Bruce DeGroot (photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Bill 192 aims to end charging prisoners board bills” for their stays in jail.  Persons who don’t pay those bills can be required to come to a “show-cause” hearing and risk additional jail time.  Lawmakers said this amounted to putting people in a “debtor’s prison.”

The bill would allow counties to seek to collect jail bills through civil means, with no threat of jail time.  The House’s 138-11 vote on Monday sends that bill to Governor Mike Parson (R).

Bill sponsor Bruce DeGroot (R-Chesterfield) worked closely with Liberty Democrat Mark Ellebracht on the legislation.  DeGroot said current law is putting Missourians who’ve committed minor crimes and who can’t afford to pay fines and boarding costs back in jail, where they only incur more boarding costs.

“The people who don’t pay their fines and court costs who got put in jail because they couldn’t afford to bond themselves out, and now all of a sudden they owe $1300 for their week in jail and fines and court costs, and then they come before the judge and the judge says, ‘You owe $1300,’ and they say, ‘I don’t have it,’ and he says, ‘Fine, come on back next month and have at least $100,’ so they come on back the next month and they don’t have it and the judge puts them in jail, or they don’t show because they can’t get a babysitter or they can’t get off work, or they do get off work and they get fired,” said DeGroot.

DeGroot said in one case, a woman who stole an $8 tube of mascara incurred more than $10,000 in “board bills.”

Representative Mark Ellebracht (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Ellebracht said the legislation is proof that opposing parties who often vehemently disagree can come together to do good things.

“We worked well together on this issue because we worked as colleagues and we respected each other’s opinion, and we made what I regard as a very, very good bill, and we are correcting a problem that a lot of people face in the State of Missouri,” said Ellebracht.

The Senate added to HB 192 legislation to allow judges to waive mandatory minimum sentencing requirements for non-violent offenders who meet certain criteria.  That was the goal of House Bill 113, which the House passed in February, 140-17.

It was sponsored by Carthage Republican Cody Smith.

“It’s been shown in other red states like Texas and Oklahoma that if we change the way we treat folks – non-violent offenders – we can lead to better outcomes by keeping them out of prison, to the extent that that’s possible.  It leads to better outcomes in their lives, their families’ lives.  It leads to savings by not having people incarcerated in state prisons,” said Smith.

Springfield Republican Curtis Trent said both provisions speak to priorities that Governor Parson and Chief Justice Zel Fischer both spoke about when addressing the House and the Senate earlier this year.

“It’s a question of who we want in our prisons.  Do we want people in our prisons who are mainly a threat to themselves – they have poor judgement – or do we want people in there who are truly a threat to society, who are predators, who are going to victimize other people, not just for minor, monetary amounts, but in ways that are truly life-altering, and I think those are the people who we want to prioritize,” said Trent.

It’s now up to Governor Parson whether HB 192 becomes law.  If it does, it would take effect August 28.

Judge who sentenced man to 241 years meets with lawmakers seeking his clemency

A judge who sentenced a man to more than two centuries in prison now says that man deserves to be freed.  Judge Evelyn Baker is joined by numerous House members and others lobbying for clemency for Bobby Bostic.

Judge Evelyn Baker (retired) (photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“I will talk to anybody and everyone who is in a position to help undo an injustice,” said Judge Baker.

Baker sentenced Bostic to 241 years in prison after a string of crimes in 1995.  Now 40, Bostic would not be eligible for parole until the age of 112.

“We had that whole concept of the violent predator juveniles.  What we didn’t have was the knowledge from science in terms of brain development in adolescents,” said Baker of when she sentenced Bostic.  “The law said he is a certified juvenile, therefore can be treated as an adult.  Bobby was far from being an adult.  He was a 16-year-old kid and I treated him as if he were a hardened adult criminal.  I know now that was wrong.”

Judge Baker traveled this week to Jefferson City to meet with Representative Nick Schroer (R-O’Fallon), who earlier this year began gathering lawmakers’ signatures on a letter asking Governor Mike Parson (R) to grant clemency to Bostic.  About 50 legislators have signed that letter and Schroer said more have committed to, but he put the effort on hold while the clemency process is advancing.

Bostic was 16 in 1995 when he and an accomplice robbed a group of people delivering Christmas presents to the needy.  He shot one victim who sustained a minor wound.  The pair then carjacked and robbed a woman.

Baker said Bostic has turned his life around in prison.  He obtained his G.E.D. and a paralegal diploma, took a victim advocate course, and completed a course in non-profit management and grantsmanship.  He’s written four non-fiction books and 8 books of poetry.

Bobby Bostic has told Judge Baker and Rep. Schroer there are others in prison who deserve to have clemency considered.

“He’s turned into a responsible young man who accepts full responsibility for his actions.  He doesn’t minimize what happened.  He doesn’t excuse what happened,” said Baker.  “My experience as a judge has always been that people who accept full responsibility, make no excuses for their actions, express true remorse … don’t come back into the system again, and that’s Bobby.”

Schroer and Baker both believe that being sent to prison was actually a benefit to Bostic, who himself told the judge he expected to be dead in his early 20s.

“God is working miracles.  It if wasn’t for the judge cracking down and being as hard as she was on Bobby, it wouldn’t have probably opened his eyes to create the man that he is today,” said Schroer.  “If she would’ve been soft on him he might’ve been back out on the street to commit more crimes and actually become a more hardened criminal.”

Schroer has talked to the governor and First Lady Teresa Parson about Bostic’s case and said they are both receptive.  He also hopes that in this effort to see Bostic be granted clemency, it will open doors for others in Missouri’s prisons who have similar arguments to be made.

“Bobby’s not the only Bobby.  There are Bobbys and Bobbetts not only in the Missouri Department of Corrections but all throughout this country,” said Baker.

Representative Nick Schroer and Judge Evelyn Baker (retired) (photo: Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Schroer said he learned that the governor’s office has a stack of clemency requests that date back to the administration of Governor Bob Holden (D), who left the office in 2005.  He hopes to see those examined.

“The Parson administration has indicated that they were taking a fresh look at all of those petitions and I know that they are still doing it right now … but whether we need to form a task force or a committee to help expedite that process, I’m wide open to forming something like that,” said Schroer.

“My time up here is to serve the people of Missouri, and what better way to serve the people than look at their pocketbooks, look where the money’s going, and look at the people that have actually been placed under the control of the state to see how we can actually get them out [to] become a productive member of society,” said Schroer.

Judge Baker said she has corresponded with Bostic regularly and she plans to meet with him in prison.

Schroer said it could be a couple of months before he submits legislators’ signatures with the letter urging Governor Parson to grant clemency to Bostic, while other parts of that effort move forward.

House proposes a chance at parole for certain inmates over 65 serving life

The House has voted to ensure that Missouri inmates who are at least 65 years old get a chance at parole.

Representative Tom Hannegan (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

House Bill 352 would apply to a small number of inmates who have served at least 30 years of a sentence, who have no prior violent felony convictions, are not convicted sex offenders, and are serving a sentence of life without parole with a 50-year minimum.

St. Charles Republican Tom Hannegan sponsors the bill.  He said that sentence was replaced with a 30-year minimum in the 1980s.

“We are trying to give these folks, who have become elderly in prison and are a burden on the Missouri department of justice health system, the same opportunity for parole that they would’ve had if they had committed their crimes a few years after they were convicted,” said Hannegan.

Democrats strongly supported the bill.  Representative Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City) said just as modern DNA has proven some people innocent in old cases, this legislation reflects how the state’s law has changed to eliminate overly harsh prison terms.

“This is an opportunity to correct some of the miscarriage of justice that we’ve had in the past,” said Washington.

Some Republicans opposed the bill, saying the victims of the crimes committed by the inmates this bill would affect deserve justice by having the original sentences carried out.

Carl Junction representative Bob Bromley (R) said a high school friend of his was murdered, as was the sister of a friend of his.  He reached out to relatives of both of those victims about HB 352.

“They are adamantly opposed to this because they believe we are re-litigating what has already been litigated in the past.  They believe that they have a written contract with the judicial system and also with the State of Missouri that these people were going to be put away for life,” said Bromley.

Former Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts (R-Joplin) said sentences of life without parole are often offered as an alternative to the death sentence in particularly egregious crimes.  That is generally after the victim’s family has agreed to accept that as an outcome.

“When someone is sentenced under a statute that says, ‘Life without parole means a 50-year minimum,’ that’s the promise that we made to the family at the time,” said Roberts.  “The promise doesn’t change just because our philosophy changes.”

“Whenever we take today’s philosophy and apply it to yesterday’s conduct, somehow the victims fade into the landscape like they never existed,” said Roberts.

Hannegan said the bill wouldn’t fly in the face of past sentences.

“The [legislature] has already made the change in the sentencing law.  Therefore this is not breaking a contract with the jury, but rather allowing equivalent sentencing across the board,” said Hannegan.

Representative Lane Roberts (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative Steve Butz’s (D-St. Louis) sister was raped and murdered about 10 years ago in Washington State.  He described to his colleagues having to identify her body, having to wait several days before her body was released to be buried, and going through the court trial.

He said her killer is serving the same kind of sentence as the people this bill would affect.

“Our family, consistent with our [belief that] ‘every life is important,’ we requested that this perpetrator not be given the death penalty, and he was not.  My mother, my father, and all 10 of the surviving siblings testified to that case,” said Butz.

He said forgiveness is key for a family to heal.

“With all the other requirements that this inmate in this case would have to meet, it’s for those reasons that I urge the body to support this bill,” said Butz.  “It’s great to be merciful.”

HB 352 is part of a larger, overall focus on criminal justice reform that is a bipartisan priority this year.  Its language has been included in a broad reform package, House Committee Bill 2.  That bill is still before a House committee.

An inmate receiving a parole hearing under this bill must be found by the parole board to have met certain criteria to be eligible for parole.  He or she must have a record of good conduct while in prison; must have demonstrated rehabilitation; must have an institutional risk factor score of no more than one and a mental health score of no more than three; and must have a workable parole plan that includes the support of family and community.

An offender who is not granted parole would be reconsidered every two years.

With a vote of 90-60, HB 352 now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

Missouri House endorses elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes

The Missouri House has voted to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent crimes.

Representative Cody Smith (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Missouri law requires that offenders with one prior conviction must serve at least 40-percent of a prison term.  Those with two prior convictions must serve 50-percent, and those with three or more must serve 80-percent.

House Bill 113 would allow judges to make exceptions to those mandates if, based on certain criteria, those minimums would be unjust to the defendant or unnecessary to protect the public.

“This enables us to, as someone said, differentiate between the folks that we’re scared of and the folks that we’re mad at,” said bill sponsor Cody Smith (R-Carthage).

Supporters say reforms such as those in HB 113 would keep individuals who made bad decisions but aren’t likely to commit further offenses from spending too much time in prison, where they might learn to commit additional and more violent offenses.

Projections say HB 113 will also save the state more than $3-million by 2023, by leading to the release of an estimated 466 prisoners and thereby eliminating the cost of housing, feeding, and otherwise seeing to the needs of those individuals.

Smith notes that those projections don’t include the fact that as recently as last year, Missouri was seen as on pace to need another two prisons in the next five years.

“Not having to build new prisons and incarcerate more and more folks, and house them, having that cost of operational cost … we’re talking about hundreds of millions of dollars,” said Smith.

The bill drew broad bipartisan support, passing out of the House 140-17St. Louis Democrat Steven Roberts said while the bill removes minimum sentences, it doesn’t stop a judge from imposing maximum sentences when appropriate.

Representative Brandon Ellington (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

“I just want to emphasize the point that what this bill does is it doesn’t lower the ceiling, so if there’s an egregious offense – if something heinous happens, there’s nothing in this bill that lowers the ceiling of discretion, but what it does is it lowers the floor,” said Roberts.

Democrats called the bill a good step in the direction of criminal justice reform, but say they hope to see more.

Kansas City representative Brandon Ellington (D) has filed legislation that would further change the laws regarding minimum sentences, and named other reforms his party supports.

“Expungement is still a hot topic; some of the laws around marijuana expungement, etcetera – not just for the medicinal but full-scale expungement, so we’re looking at things of that nature,” said Ellington.

HB 113 now goes to the Senate, where last year’s version of the same legislation was referred to a committee but did not receive a hearing.

State lawmakers to ask governor for clemency for man sentenced as teen to 241 years

A growing body of Missouri legislators wants to ask Governor Mike Parson (R) to act on behalf of a man in state prison with a sentence that they feel far exceeds his crimes.

Bobby Bostic is currently in the Jefferson City Correctional Center serving a 214 sentence for crimes he committed in one night in 1995. (photo supplied by Representative Nick Schroer)

Bobby Bostic is serving a sentence of 241 years in prison.  Now 40, he would be eligible for parole at the age of 112.  Appeals filed on his behalf have been denied, even one on the grounds that the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that people under 18 who didn’t kill anyone couldn’t be sentenced to life without parole.  That didn’t apply to Bostic because he wasn’t sentenced to life; he was sentenced for 18 crimes.

Bostic was 16 in 1995 when he and an 18-year-old accomplice robbed a group of people delivering Christmas presents for the needy.  Each man shot a victim, leaving one slightly injured.  The pair carjacked another woman and put a gun to her head.  The accomplice robbed and groped her before she was let go.

“When you look at the cases from around that time – the late ‘90s – there are murderers that are already back out on our streets that were sent [to prison],” said Representative Nick Schroer.

Schroer, an O’Fallon Republican, says he happened upon the case when someone posted an old story about Bostic on Twitter.  He sent Bostic a letter and the two began talking, and shortly thereafter Schroer and other representatives met with Bostic at the Jefferson City Correctional Center.  It was then that Schroer decided he wanted to see the man given a chance at freedom.

Representative Nick Schroer (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communciations)

“I think he should do time for the mistakes that he made and the choices that he’s made, but to put him there on a taxpayer dime for 241 years I think is unjust,” said Schroer.

One of the lawmakers that joined Schroer in that visit to JCCC is Representative Barbara Washington (D-Kansas City).  She came to the same conclusion – that the sentence was too harsh.  She and Schroer agreed to work with their respective parties to get as many lawmakers as possible to sign a letter to Governor Parson asking for clemency for Bostic.

“That’s all he has.  That’s the only thing he has.  The Supreme Court did deny his brief.  They denied to hear the case on the U.S. Supreme Court level.  I believe he’s had some appeals that have been denied on the state court level, and so at this point this is the only opportunity that this young man has had,” said Washington.  “He’s lost his whole life for 24 years.  Had he not been tried in adult court he probably would’ve been out at 25.”

Schroer and Washington say Bostic has worked to better himself during his time in prison.

“I’m not saying he’s a model prisoner – I don’t know his whole record – but what I do know is that he’s tried to take advantage of the opportunities that you can take in prison,” said Washington.  “He didn’t even have a high school diploma or GED when he went in.  He has received a GED and he’s soon to be completing his associate degree.”

Representative Barbara Washington (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Schroer said Bostic’s efforts to get an education show he’s on the right path, and said some of his actions on the night of his crimes showed at least some of his thoughts were on the right path.

“The female victim indicated that while Bobby was driving, the 18-year-old, while he was trying to find her money, groped her and then threatened to rape her, but it was the 16-year-old Bobby Bostic … that stopped any rape from occurring and got her out of the car,” said Schroer.

“It’s interesting to note,” Washington adds, “that he was 16, his co-defendant was 18, and his co-defendant will be up for parole next year.”

The judge who handed Bostic his sentence has said publicly that she now regrets, “deeply,” that decision, and wants to meet with Bostic.  Schroer believes something another judge – Missouri’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Zel Fischer – said in his State of the Judiciary Address this week also applies.

“He indicated that we should be using our prisons to house the most serious – the criminals that we, as a society, are afraid of, not the ones that we’re mad at,” said Schroer.  “I think listening to our chief justice it’s time that we give this man a second chance.”

By Thursday afternoon around 15 lawmakers had signed on to the letter started by Representatives Schroer and Washington – lawmakers from both parties and from both the House and Senate, with more having agreed to sign it.

 

Bill would push 17-year-olds to juvenile court system

A House Republican will again this year propose that Missouri increase the age at which young offenders can be tried in Missouri’s adult courts.

Representative Nick Schroer (photo; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

17-year-olds can be prosecuted in adult courts.  O’Fallon Representative Nick Schroer wants to “raise the age” to 18.  He said the bill has broad, bipartisan support.

“In the state of Missouri you have to be 18 to enter into a contract without parental consent.  You have to be 18 to buy cigarettes, you have to be 18 to join the military, buy a lottery ticket, or even vote.  You even have to be 21 to purchase or consume alcohol in our state,” said Schroer, “but there is one place where juveniles are still treated as adults – in our courtrooms.”

Schroer on Friday pre-filed House Bill 1255, which mirrors House Bill 274 from the 2017 session.  He said by passing it and increasing that age to 18, Missouri would save money by reducing recidivism; would allow more offenders to use the resources of the juvenile justice system to hold them accountable and rehabilitate them; and would strengthen Missouri’s workforce and economy by keeping 17 year-olds from having criminal records.

Schroer said his bill would also protect the rights of Missouri parents.

“When a 17-year-old is arrested currently, parents are excluded from being informed of what is going on.  They do not have a right to be involved in the interrogation, they do not have a right to be involved in the court process,” said Schroer.

One of the hang-ups of past “raise the age” legislation has been the projected cost to Missouri.  Schroer said those estimates have been inaccurate.  He said in the 45 states that have passed similar laws, their projections of cost were also high but once the laws were in place, the actual costs were far lower and some states saved money.

“That is why I am happy to announce that with the many different fiscal notes that were associated with this bill in 2017, I am reaching out to Missouri State University to take a look at what the true economic impact of this legislation would be,” said Schroer.  “I am confident that once this report is done that it will show what the 45 other states have shown – that raise the age legislation reduces crime, saves taxpayer dollars, and keeps Missourians safe.”

Schroer said it should be a goal to keep young people out of Missouri’s adult court and prison system.

“When you put a young person, with their brain still developing, you put them in a system where they’re going to learn the traits in the adult system … they’re going to learn how to scheme, the ways of the criminal, so-to-speak,” said Schroer.  “When they come out with a criminal record, it’s hard for them to get a job; it’s hard for them to make ends meet.  When their back’s against the wall they’re going to go to what they know.  In these situations a lot of these kids that have been put through the adult system what they know is how to commit crime.”

Schroer said his legislation would allow minors who have committed heinous or repeated offenses to be certified as an adult.

HB 1255 is one of 13 bills Schroer filed today, and one of hundreds pre-filed for the 2018 legislative session which begins January 3.