State v. McCord (Mo. 2021)
Nature of Case: Following a bench trial, the Appellant was convicted of violating Missouri’s housing banishment laws which prohibited those with past convictions for sex offenses from residing within 1,000 feet of a variety of locations. Appellant appealed his conviction, arguing that the Rule of Lenity required his acquittal where the statute did not specify whether the measurement of the distance was to be taken from building to building or property line to property line.
Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed the Appellant’s conviction and held that the proper interpretation of the statute was that the distance measurements were to be taken from property line to property line. Appellant then requested review from the state Supreme Court, which was granted.
Holding: The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed the conviction, finding that the legislature intended the statute to encompass school grounds in addition to school buildings, and that the rule of lenity was not applicable.