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Interim criminal law study committee to examine sentencing questions

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The process to correct and clarify House Enrolled Act 1006, the massive piece of legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code, will begin Aug. 15 at the first meeting of the Indiana General Assembly’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee.

The Legislative Council saddled the committee with a hefty agenda, leading Chairman Sen. R. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, to say he expects the committee will need to meet more than the four times allotted and the meetings will probably be all-day affairs.

At Thursday’s meeting, the group will begin reviewing provisions in HEA 1006 that have been earmarked as in need of correcting or clarifying. The agenda calls for committee members to discuss a draft of a Title 7.1 revision and unspecified fiscal issues.    

Young  pointed out the committee has a specific duty and will not be considering the broad question of whether or not Indiana’s criminal code should be changed.

“Our charge is not policy but merely to reconcile and review so it all goes together,” Young said. “We won’t be rethinking policy.”

Thursday’s meeting will start at 10 a.m. and be held in room 130 of the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St.

When HEA 1006 was passed by the 2013 Legislature, the bill was delayed from taking effect until July 1, 2014. This was purposefully done in order to give the General Assembly time to tweak the measure.   
 
One key duty the committee has during this interim session will be to study the sentencing provisions in HEA 1006 and try to settle the dispute over whether the legislation will increase or decrease the number of inmates in Indiana, especially at the county jails. Currently, the Indiana Department of Correction’s view that the bill will expand the state’s prison population is at odds with the interpretation by the Legislative Services Agency that the number of incarcerated will drop.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald, who authored HEA 1006 and is a member of Young’s committee, said sentencing remains a big issue but, based on experiences in other states, the revision of the criminal code could bring a reduction in prison population along with a lower crime rate and drop in recidivism in Indiana.  

“I’m very happy with where we are at this point,” the Danville Republican said. “I think we’re probably 80 to 90 percent done, but what is left to be done is very critical. In some respects it’s the most important piece. We’ve got to make sure we get the sentencing grid correct.”

To provide an analysis, the committee may get help from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. According to Steuerwald, the ICJI would spend its funds to hire outside experts to review HEA 1006’s sentencing guidelines and assess the impact on the state’s inmate population.

Based on that data, Steuerwald said, the committee would then adjust the sentencing grid to maintain proportionality and control the prison population.

However, the representative emphasized no one has been hired to do this analysis. Rather, the committee is sending a request, outlining what it wants the outside experts to provide, and asking for a cost estimate.











 

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  1. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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