TERRE HAUTE —
Indiana’s sex offender registry, consumer protection and protecting children from abuse while improving the state’s Child Protective Services agency are among the top issues for Indianapolis attorney Kay Fleming, Democatic candidate for Indiana Attorney General.
She faces Republican Attorney General Greg Zoeller in the November general election. Zoeller was elected to the office in 2008.
“The Department of Child Services is broken and needs to be fixed,” Fleming said during a stop in Terre Haute Wednesday, noting that some changes made to how abuse and neglect cases are reported and investigated have harmed the child protection system.
The state’s sentencing laws also need to be overhauled, she said, because some are out of date. The state has only four felony classifications for crimes, she said, and often a nonviolent offender will get a longer prison sentence than a violent offender such as a rapist.
“We need different classifications of felonies, and to revamp sentencing so that violent offenders spend more time in prison than nonviolent offenders,” she said.
She also supports bringing the state’s online sex and violent offender database under the oversight of the attorney general. The state’s Department of Correction currently partners with the Indiana Sheriff’s Association to provide the online resource in all Indiana counties. But the state law is interpreted differently by each sheriff’s department, and the state law is not compliant with the federal law on tracking convicted sex and violent offenders.
“There are 92 sheriffs across the state who all have to interpret the state law, so you can have inconsistencies from county to county,” she said.
She noted that most sheriff’s departments are doing a good job of documenting and tracking these convicted felons, but she asserted the system could be improved by moving it to the attorney general’s office for consistent oversight and enforcement of the law.
Providing resources to local prosecuting attorneys is also high on her list for the attorney general’s office, she said. Many counties already have state offices housed on local levels, so it would be easy to add a simple office for a state attorney who could handle more complicated cases.
Fleming said that is one complaint she has heard from local prosecutors, who see cases such as identity theft or fraud that take a lot of investigation, but can be overshadowed by drug cases.
“Small counties would welcome the assistance to pursue these cases,” she said.
Fleming said she is also a supporter of women’s issues and small business enterprises, and feels the current attorney general contracts out too much of the legal work that could be handled in-house without being outsourced.
Fleming is member and president of Fleming Stage LLC attorneys at law. The focus of her legal practice are on gaming, charitable gaming and sweepstakes law, nonprofit organizational issues, the certification of minority, women and disadvantaged business enterprises, and the development of participation plans for a diverse vendor base.
She has been a partner with the Ice Miller law firm, and chief counsel for the Indiana Gaming Commission, clerked in federal court for the Southern District of Indiana, and began her law career as a probation officer.
Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @TribStarLisa.