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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. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  2. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  3. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  4. Different rules for different folks....

  5. I would strongly suggest anyone seeking mediation check the experience of the mediator. There are retired judges who decide to become mediators. Their training and experience is in making rulings which is not the point of mediation.

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