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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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