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Indiana Senate to hold hearings on crime bills

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Two crime bills moving through the Indiana General Assembly are on the agenda for Senate hearings next week.

House Bill 1006 which rewrites Indiana’s Criminal Code will be reviewed by the Senate Corrections & Criminal Law Committee at 10 a.m. March 26. Also House Bill 1482, which allows for expungement of criminal records, will go before the Senate Judiciary Committee at 9 a.m. March 27.

Senators will be discussing HB 1006 days after Gov. Mike Pence raised concerns over the measure’s approach to low-level offenders. The bill provides intensive probation – particularly for minor drug offenses – rather than incarceration. For higher-level crimes, offenders will have to serve at least 75 percent of their sentences while the so-called “worst of the worst,” like murders and child molesters, will be required to serve 85 percent of their time.  

Supporters of the legislation say the approach will reduce recidivism and save the state money. However, the governor has said he is not in favor of reducing penalties.

HB 1006, authored by Danville Republican Rep. Greg Steuerwald, incorporates the sweeping changes recommended by the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission. The commission did an exhaustive examination of the state’s criminal code and offered several suggestions to address inconsistencies which had appeared over the years.

The bill passed through the House of Representatives on an 80 to 13 vote. It is being sponsored in the Senate by Republican Sens. Brent Steele and Michael Young, and Democratic Sen. Lindel Hume.

House Bill 1482, authored by Rep. Jud McMillian, R-Brookville, requires the courts to expunge nonviolent Class D felony and misdemeanor convictions from criminal records and gives courts the option of expunging other felony convictions.

Eighty-two representatives voted for the measure and 17 voted against it. Sens. Steele and Young are also sponsoring this bill along with Democratic Sen. Earline Rogers.

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  • expungement
    Does this Bill, 1482, only apply to non-violent offenses? I am a concerned citizen as well as a constituent of someone who was convicted of a sexual offense and he is concerned as to whether his offense may be expunged, after a certain amount of time, of course, due to his particular offense not being of any violent nature. I have briefly read the Bill and it is unclear as to which certain offenses, other than misdemeanors and lower class offenses are eligible. He was convicted of a class C felony offense. Does this constitute expungement under this enactment? I believe it is under advisement of,as well as the discretion of the courts as to whether he may be entitled to be removed from registry after a period of ten (10) years of law-abiding conduct so as not to pose a threat to society, but how will this affect the registry requirement? He is a well respected member of the community, a father of three (3), a grandfather of three (3)as well as a law major who cannot acquire gainful employment with criminal history. He is diligently attempting to obtain needed credits for J.D. so that he may partake in A.B.A. exam and possibly practice law perhaps in another state if applicable. Please advise of direction or suitable alternative. Thank you.

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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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