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Criminal Code bill gets Senate hearing

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Concerns over sentencing provisions and pleas for adequate funding dominated the Senate hearing on legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code.

Members of the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law convened today to review House Bill 1006 and hear testimony from various proponents and opponents of the measure.

Committee Chair Sen. Mike Young recessed the hearing after two and a half hours. The committee will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday to review proposed amendments.

HB 1006 increases the penalties for offenders sentenced to prison but balances that against providing treatment and programs in the local communities for low-level criminals. This approach is promoted as a way to reduce recidivism and lower the cost of incarceration for the state.

Advocates for intensive probation over prison warned without a proper level of funding, the communities will not be able to offer the help these low-level offenders need and eventually these people will be pushed into the Indiana Department of Correction.

Don Travis, president of the Probation Officers’ Professional Association of Indiana, strongly encouraged the committee to provide the funding that communities need to implement alternative programs.

“If this bill goes into effect without the proper community resources,” he said, “it will not have the effect that’s anticipated.”

Steve Luce, executive director of the Indiana Sheriffs Association, also pushed for funding. He noted treatment programs do work with redirecting many inmates away from criminal activity. However, the key piece is funding dollars.

While Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council, applauded the bill’s sentencing proportionality, he said the measure fell short on reformation.

He pointed to the Indiana Constitution which calls for a penal code founded on reformation instead of vindictive justice. This bill, in its current form, he said, looks more toward retribution rather than rehabilitation.

He predicted the sentencing provisions, which call for inmates to serve at least 75 percent of their terms, will increase the state’s prison population. Also, echoing the previous speakers, he noted without proper funding to the communities, the offenders will not be monitored or supervised so they will likely violate their probations and end up in the Department of Correction which will make the current problem worse.

Landis proposed the sentencing language in the bill be rewritten to mirror the current sentencing standards. Then a summer study committee can review the data and develop a better sentencing structure.





 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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