SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The last time the criminal code in Missouri was updated on a large scale was 1979. If some lawmakers have their way, that is about to change.
Assistant Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Todd Myers believes it could help clean up what has been a relative mess in the legal system.
"Things get piecemealed. You get a law or provision put in one statute or another statute, and you find out it conflicts with a different statute. So it becomes more of a hodgepodge of laws as opposed to one cohesive criminal code," he said.
Criminal defense lawyer Teresa Grantham partially agrees.
"There were some components that I think did clarify things that had been questions," she said.
She doesn't agree with all of it.
"My reading of the majority of the changes were that they were not as positive as they could have," Grantham said.
Missouri has four classes of felonies: A, B, C, and D. The proposed changes would add a fifth class -- class E. Grantham says, for her clients, it could do a lot more harm than good.
"Once you are a convicted felon, your ability to have a good job changes. A lot of it is taken away," she said.
She argues most employers don't know the difference between a class C or class E felony; all they see is the big "F" word. She believes it punishes people trying to rebuild their lives after a conviction.
"I'm not sure what any practical and positive implications of that are," said Grantham.
Grantham says the proposed comprehensive changes, while endorsed by the Missouri Bar, aren't necessarily regarded as an improvement by all lawyers.