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Indiana lawmakers return to correct errors

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State lawmakers returned to the Indiana Capitol Tuesday to fix a series of problems with their sweeping overhaul of the state's criminal sentencing rules.

Shortly after lawmakers wrapped up their 2014 session this past March, legislative leaders discovered a series of drafting errors with the legislation they had just passed which had serious consequences.

In one instance, a child sex offense charge could be wrongly interpreted as a lower level felony than what lawmakers intended. In another case, Indiana law was accidentally changed so that police officers would not be able to immediately arrest a suspected thief or shoplifter without obtaining a warrant first.

The problems were discovered in a sweeping overhaul of the state's criminal sentencing rules that lawmakers, lawyers and others have spent many years putting together. The legislation was approved earlier this year.

House Judiciary Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, said that even with the thorough reviews, the effort was so extensive it's likely to result in some other errors shaking out in the future.

"We've had literally a thousand sets of eyes on this thing, and the cooperation and the input has been outstanding. At this point in time we've discovered any issues we might have, but I'm pretty sure there are going to be others," he said.

The goal of Tuesday's "technical corrections day" at the Statehouse is to approve the series of fixes before the legislation takes effect on July 1.

Lawmakers are also correcting separate legislation that was intended to limit the amount of tax credits available for natural gas vehicles, but accidentally was applied to all alternative fuels.

The General Assembly occasionally approves seemingly small errors in legislation which have big consequences. In 2011, a measure was passed that accidentally de-authorized the Family and Social Services Administration. Then-Gov. Mitch Daniels was forced to draft an executive order that allowed the agency to keep operating.

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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