Opinion handed down July 21, 2015
Welch, a man who pled guilty to two counts of involuntary manslaughter for killing two people while driving in an intoxicated condition applied for a sentence reduction pursuant to Missouri Revised Statutes Section 558.046. That statute permits judges to reduce the length of sentence for persons convicted of alcohol- or drug-related crimes, provided that those crimes do not involve violence. The trial court granted Welch a reduced sentence, and the prosecution filed a writ of prohibition in the Supreme Court of Missouri.
The Supreme Court of Missouri made the writ of prohibition absolute, holding that the crime of involuntary manslaughter by driving while intoxicated and killing another person with criminal negligence is one that certainly “involves violence.” The court specifically found that there need not be a mens rea element in order for a crime to qualify as “involving violence” pursuant to Section 558.046.