Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

July 5, 2013

Indiana's Criminal Code revamped

With the legislative session completed, many bills have passed out of the General Assembly and been signed into law by the governor. State Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville) has worked on a number that positively impact the state.

“This session was different than the first two as there was more cooperation and bipartisanship – a benefit for all Hoosiers,” said McMillin. “Out of the many accomplishments from this year, overhauling Indiana’s Criminal Code, advocating for expungement and establishing the Blue Alert Program were three policies that I was grateful to be a part of.”

A 2012 National Institute of Justice study shows that nearly one-third of American adults have been arrested by age 23. Currently, state law allows an individual convicted of a crime to petition the sentencing court to restrict disclosure of such charges. Additionally, the law includes a provision that a sentencing court may convert a Class D felony conviction to a Class A misdemeanor after three years has transpired since completion of a sentence agreement. But Indiana does not allows for convictions to be expunged. In fact, in many cases, even arrests that do not result in a person being convicted remain on a person’s record forever.

“Article 1, Section 18 of our state Constitution states that the goal of our penal system shall be founded on reformation and not vindictive justice,” he noted. “Ex-offenders leave prison and immediately become labeled everywhere they go; all the while, doors close because of a permanent criminal record hanging over their heads. With 33 other states having an expungement policy in place, it’s time that Indiana joins the rest of the nation in holding people accountable while allowing forgiveness and second chances to occur.”

McMillin said, “House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1482, a bill I authored, allows a sentencing court to seal the records of a person who was arrested, but not prosecuted or whose conviction was overturned on appeal one year after the arrest was made. Additionally, the bill permits an individual to expunge a misdemeanor conviction after five years and certain nonviolent, Class D felony convictions eight years after the arrest was made.

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