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House OKs feticide bill, sends back to Senate

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Legislation that would increase the penalty for fetal homicide has made it through the Indiana House of Representatives, and now must go back for approval in the Senate where it originated since some changes were made.

On Monday, the House voted 96-0 in support of Senate Bill 236, which would apply to fetuses at any stage of development and enhance the feticide penalty from the current two- to six-year term, to a six- to 20-year penalty. It would also allow an additional six to 20 years of prison time to be added for anyone convicted of murder or attempted murder if they cause pregnancy loss, boosting the feticide penalty from a Class C to a Class B felony.

The only amendment replaced references to the death of a child in utero with new language referring to the termination of a human pregnancy, matching existing language in the state's feticide law. The Senate had passed the bill by a 40-9 vote on Feb. 25, and will now reconsider it with the new language.

Lawmakers leading the effort were Sen. James Merritt and Rep. Mike Murphy, both R-Indianapolis, and Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond. The legislation comes in response to an Indianapolis shooting in April 2008, when a pregnant bank teller was shot in the abdomen and later lost the twin girls she'd been carrying for about six months. One was stillborn, and the other died about five hours after the premature birth.

Current law only allows murder charges to be filed if a fetus has reached "viability," or about seven months. Approximately 37 states have feticide laws and about 18 of those consider the killing of a fetus at any stage to be murder, Merritt noted.

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  1. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  2. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  3. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

  4. If justice is not found in a court room, it's time to clean house!!! Even judges are accountable to a higher Judge!!!

  5. The small claims system, based on my recent and current usage of it, is not exactly a shining example of justice prevailing. The system appears slow and clunky and people involved seem uninterested in actually serving justice within a reasonable time frame. Any improvement in accountability and performance would gain a vote from me. Speaking of voting, what do the people know about judges and justice from the bench perspective. I think they have a tendency to "vote" for judges based on party affiliation or name coolness factor (like Stoner, for example!). I don't know what to do in my current situation other than grin and bear it, but my case is an example of things working neither smoothly, effectively nor expeditiously. After this experience I'd pay more to have the higher courts hear the case -- if I had the money. Oh the conundrum.

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