Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

July 5, 2013

Indiana's Criminal Code revamped

(Continued)

Based on the sentencing court’s discretion, certain more serious felony convictions could also be expunged eight years after a person completes his or her sentence, and for the most serious, nonviolent felony charges, they could be marked as expunged, but remain public record 10 years after a person completes their sentence.

An individual may only petition for expungement once in his or her lifetime, and HEA 1482 permits a law enforcement officer to access certain expunged records without a court order. Moreover, the bill makes the Indiana State Police maintain the criminal history information at the central repository.

Another law dealing with Indiana’s legal system is HEA 1006, a bill co-authored by the legislator. The law completely revamps Indiana’s Criminal Code for the first time in over 30 years. The bill seeks to increase certainty in sentencing and will go into effect July 1, 2014.

HEA 1006 was a product of the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission (CCEC), a summer study committee, and years of work. The law intends to return proportionality to the criminal code and provide certainty in sentencing. The focus was on reducing recidivism through intensive probation and to address the cause of the crime, not just the symptoms. The changes that the CCEC recommended expand the four classes to six by dividing Class A and Class B into two parts each.

It was a bipartisan effort to study Indiana’s justice system, recommend improvements to the criminal laws and identify methods that have proven to reduce crime. That effort resulted in HEA 1006 finally passing through the Legislature, but the issue of local costs will continue to be studied. A qualified committee will thoroughly study the proposed rewrite of Indiana’s entire criminal code. The committee’s goal is to examine the proposed updated code and create a way for Indiana to cut state prison costs, while providing a sentence grid that applies a more specific sentence to criminal offenses, creating a safer and more responsible state.

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