Legislature announces summer study committees

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The Legislative Council of the Indiana General Assembly has assigned the study topics various committees will examine this summer and fall. Some of the areas include creating a centralized department of administrative law judges and review of various Department of Child Services practices.

The Commission on Courts will look at whether ALJs should be organized under one department within the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. The commission will look at the fiscal impact and logistics of implementing what is known as the “Texas model.”

Senate Enrolled Act 286 spelled out several areas that the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will take a look at this year, including progress and improvements made by the department since its creation in 2005. The committee will also look at how it’s determined whether a family or child is eligible for DCS services, critical problems within DCS, and the communication between family court and DCS to collaborate on families’ involvement in each entity.

The Commission on Mental Health and Addiction is also going to look at juvenile matters brought up in SEA 286. The commission will study whether prosecuting attorneys should be allowed to file a petition alleging a child is in need of services under Indiana Code 31-41-1-6. A Morgan County judge recently ruled in a CHINS case that DCS is correct that a prosecutor does not have statutory authority to file a CHINS petition. The Morgan County prosecutor met with DCS prior to filing the CHINS petition, but DCS did nothing until the prosecutor filed the CHINS 6 petition. DCS argued that only it had the authority to file CHINS petitions.  

Morgan Circuit Judge Matthew G. Hanson wrote in his May 15 order that it seemed like a “grave mistake” for the Legislature to previously remove prosecutors or anyone else from the ability to file these cases. Hanson wrote that the issue presented in this case cannot be left to die as it is one that is likely problematic throughout the state in regards to how DCS is refusing to handle mental health and disease cases as they should be.

The Criminal Law and Sentencing Policy Study Committee will examine the provisions of I.C. 24-4-18 regarding criminal history providers and the need for any legislation to amend that statute before it takes effect July 1, 2013. As of that date, a criminal history provider must update its records annually to remove inaccurate information and information that has been expunged, restricted or limited; and only disclose certain information relating to a conviction. House Enrolled Act 1033 makes it a Class B infraction for an employer to ask if a person’s criminal records have been sealed or restricted and sets out the method for a court to convert a Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor conviction.

The committee will also study the criteria necessary to require someone to register as a sex or violent offender, how long one should remain on the registry, and what constitutes relief when registration requirements have been fulfilled.

A complete list of the study committees and topics is available here.



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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.