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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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