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Committees discuss trafficking, sex crimes, child protection

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A tougher state law for human and child trafficking was a key topic on this week’s legislative interim study committees agendas. With the Super Bowl less than six months away, the Indiana attorney general’s office is pushing for prompt action.

Legislative study committee members explored other issues during meetings on Thursday, talking about child protection, sex offenders, and if any change in Indiana law is needed in response to concerns that surfaced following the Casey Anthony trial in Florida. But it was the AG’s push on trafficking that seemed to be the most time-sensitive item.

Deputy Attorneys General David Miller and Abby Kuzma told members of the Code Evaluation Commission that the human trafficking issue is a top priority this year for Indiana AG Greg Zoeller and the National Association of Attorneys General.

Providing statistics that trafficking is a $32 billion global industry impacting more than 12 million children and adults who are shipped from the U.S. across international borders, the Hoosier attorneys said this is already a federal crime but that states need to beef up their protections to deal with it.

Specifically, they contend that big-draw events such as the Super Bowl, coming to Indianapolis in early February, make this a priority for Indiana. Other past Super Bowl locations have experienced trafficking during their events, they explained. Kuzma is part of a task force to address this issue in Indiana that includes the U.S. attorney.

The General Assembly added Indiana Code 35-42-3.5-1 addressing human trafficking years ago, but the statute is too weak, according to Miller. He said lawmakers should consider eliminating the “threat or force” elements of the statute because sometimes that doesn’t apply to these situations, and the law should be broadened to include more generalized criminal activity that may occur during trafficking. The Legislature should also consider adding a specific child trafficking provision for victims younger than 18, he said.

With the next legislative session starting in January 2012, lawmakers discussed the possibility of addressing this measure either on Organization Day in November or possibly with an early filing of a bill to allow the issue to be addressed promptly once the session begins in January.

Committee members didn’t vote on that item. They spent the remainder of the meeting discussing sex offenders and recidivism trends. They discussed re-evaluating housing restrictions as well as layered sentencing options that would enable courts to make sure certain sex offenders receive sufficient supervision and behavioral treatment services after their incarceration periods. Members examined a proposal from Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport, about expanding criminal code to apply to Internet sex predators that can be difficult to prosecute.

No votes were taken on these or other proposals discussed.

Members of the Criminal Law and Sentencing Committee also met and discussed creation of a new child protection registry that would mirror Indiana’s existing Do Not Call lists and give parents the ability to submit email addresses that children have access to in order to prevent certain age-sensitive marketing materials from being sent. Michigan and Utah have established these registries in the past decade, and the company offering those tools is trying to bring its services to Indiana.

The committee also briefly addressed the need for a Casey Anthony-inspired law in Indiana and whether the state statute on penalties for failing to report a dead body or missing child needed to be strengthened. No one seemed eager to make changes or discuss the idea and no one appeared at the hearing to discuss it, leaving the committee to decide existing statutes may be adequate. Failing to report a dead body within three hours is currently a misdemeanor in Indiana.

Next week, the Commission on Courts meets to discuss new court and judicial officer requests. The Indiana Legislative Council’s subcommittee studying the Indiana Supreme Court’s Barnes v. State is also scheduled to meet.
 

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  1. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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