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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. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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