Interim criminal law study committee to examine sentencing questions

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The process to correct and clarify House Enrolled Act 1006, the massive piece of legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code, will begin Aug. 15 at the first meeting of the Indiana General Assembly’s Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee.

The Legislative Council saddled the committee with a hefty agenda, leading Chairman Sen. R. Michael Young, R-Indianapolis, to say he expects the committee will need to meet more than the four times allotted and the meetings will probably be all-day affairs.

At Thursday’s meeting, the group will begin reviewing provisions in HEA 1006 that have been earmarked as in need of correcting or clarifying. The agenda calls for committee members to discuss a draft of a Title 7.1 revision and unspecified fiscal issues.    

Young  pointed out the committee has a specific duty and will not be considering the broad question of whether or not Indiana’s criminal code should be changed.

“Our charge is not policy but merely to reconcile and review so it all goes together,” Young said. “We won’t be rethinking policy.”

Thursday’s meeting will start at 10 a.m. and be held in room 130 of the Statehouse, 200 W. Washington St.

When HEA 1006 was passed by the 2013 Legislature, the bill was delayed from taking effect until July 1, 2014. This was purposefully done in order to give the General Assembly time to tweak the measure.   
One key duty the committee has during this interim session will be to study the sentencing provisions in HEA 1006 and try to settle the dispute over whether the legislation will increase or decrease the number of inmates in Indiana, especially at the county jails. Currently, the Indiana Department of Correction’s view that the bill will expand the state’s prison population is at odds with the interpretation by the Legislative Services Agency that the number of incarcerated will drop.

Rep. Greg Steuerwald, who authored HEA 1006 and is a member of Young’s committee, said sentencing remains a big issue but, based on experiences in other states, the revision of the criminal code could bring a reduction in prison population along with a lower crime rate and drop in recidivism in Indiana.  

“I’m very happy with where we are at this point,” the Danville Republican said. “I think we’re probably 80 to 90 percent done, but what is left to be done is very critical. In some respects it’s the most important piece. We’ve got to make sure we get the sentencing grid correct.”

To provide an analysis, the committee may get help from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. According to Steuerwald, the ICJI would spend its funds to hire outside experts to review HEA 1006’s sentencing guidelines and assess the impact on the state’s inmate population.

Based on that data, Steuerwald said, the committee would then adjust the sentencing grid to maintain proportionality and control the prison population.

However, the representative emphasized no one has been hired to do this analysis. Rather, the committee is sending a request, outlining what it wants the outside experts to provide, and asking for a cost estimate.



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  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  4. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  5. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.