News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

August 18, 2012

Report recommends overhaul of Indiana's criminal code

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's criminal code may be in for some sweeping changes, including more levels of felonies, tougher penalties for the worst sex and violent crimes, and less prison time for low-level drug crimes.

A 375-page report, crafted at the direction of the legislature, calls for overhauling the state's criminal laws to make punishment more proportionate to the crime.

The report, submitted in late July to the state's Criminal Code Evaluation Commission, is likely to be the framework for major legislation in the next session and the impetus for reviving the sentencing reform effort that died last year.

Among the changes recommended that reflect concerns about the disproportionate penalties in the current code: Possessing three grams of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school yard would no longer carry a harsher penalty than rape.

The report is the work product of a group of prosecutors, public defenders and other attorneys who were assigned by the commission to take a comprehensive look at the state's criminal code. The working group was lead by Deborah Daniels, a former U.S. Attorney and the sister of Gov. Mitch Daniels.

Indiana's criminal code hasn't been revised since 1977 and since then, the Indiana General Assembly has added a lot more crimes with much stiffer sentences, but did so in a piecemeal fashion.

Criminal Code Evaluation Commission chairman Ralph Foley said legislators who took a “tough on crime” approach in the past did so without considering the escalating costs of locking up more offenders or making sure there were like penalties for like crimes.

“The Indiana constitution requires proportionality,” Foley said.

The recommendations in the report are sweeping, but only cover felony crimes. It doesn't address the state's traffic laws nor does it proscribe specific penalty ranges.

But it does strongly recommend that Indiana broaden the levels of felonies, moving from its current four levels to six levels. That change would allow prosecutors and judges to better sort out the seriousness of crimes and the penalties they carry. A person convicted of causing “serious bodily injury” to a victim during a burglary could be charged at a higher level – and face more prison time – than a person convicted of causing less serious injury to a victim during a burglary.

Another major change: A felony theft charge would be based on the value of the object stolen. Currently, a prosecutor can charge a felony theft no matter the stolen item's value. The report recommends Indiana follow other states by creating a theft “threshold”: a stolen item would have to be worth $750 before a prosecutor could bring a class D felony charge.

The report recommends increasing the penalties for the worst sex offenders, and for offenders who are violent, who use weapons, or repeatedly commit the same kind of crime. The report also recommends the elimination of an “early release” program that allowed a convicted sex offender to reduce his eight-year sentence to less than two years by earning a college degree while in prison.

Andrew Cullen, an attorney with the Indiana Public Defender Council and a member of the working group that wrote the report, said there are some recommendations in the report where prosecutors and public offenders didn't agree. “But the members of the committee agreed on the vast majority of recommendations made on the crimes we evaluated,” Cullen said.

State Sen. Randy Head, a Republican from Logansport and former prosecutor who sits on the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission said the report is still a “working document” that needs to be reviewed and approved by commission members. But Head, who'd opposed the 2011 sentencing reform effort in part because it failed to address violent crimes, said the wide-ranging scope of this latest report is a good sign.

“We may not agree with all the recommendations,” Head said. “But the report gives us a more comprehensive look at the problem.”

Maureen Hayden covers the Statehouse for the CNHI newspapers in Indiana. She can be reached at maureen.hayden@indianamediagroup.com.

 

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg VIDEO UPDATE: Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070714 CULVER PHOTO.jpg Maker of history

    A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
    Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.

    July 7, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 070714 TRASH TRANSFER.jpg Petitioners push for recycling at fair

    A Vigo County environmental activist hopes to convince the Vigo County Fair Board to start recycling, especially during the county fair, and has started an online petition.

    July 7, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET 070714 SULLIVAN SQ2.jpg Veterans call on commissioners to protect war memorial

    Installing a camera on the second floor of the Sullivan County Courthouse may be one solution to curtailing what several veterans are calling a disgrace to a memorial that honors Americans who gave their lives in service to the country.

    July 7, 2014 4 Photos

  • Schools ethics case: Proposed deal to be reviewed

    The State Ethics Commission is set to review a proposed settlement Thursday in the ethics case against former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man airlifted to Indy after early morning crash

    A Clay City man sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision early Monday morning on Indiana 46 at Riley Road southeast of Terre Haute.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man agrees to plea on youth sex charges

    A Terre Haute man received a suspended sentence in a plea agreement signed Monday as his jury trial was about to commence in Vigo Superior Court 1.

    July 7, 2014

  • Downtown fire victim ID released

    Carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of death for 61-year-old William Sonnefield, a resident of Deming Center who died in a late Thursday night fire inside his apartment. The Vigo County Coroner’s office released the victim’s name Monday.

    July 7, 2014

  • MET 070614 FORD CONVERT.jpg Farmyard games

    Susan Ooley-Viray’s love of tractors started as a Christmas gift about five years ago from her husband, John.

    July 6, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET 062914 100TH ANNIV.jpg St. George's: Century of faith

    From its formation in a sewing circle of European immigrant women, surviving a fire that destroyed its building, to expanding with a new parish hall, St. George’s Episcopal Church has endured to celebrate its 100th anniversary next Sunday.

    July 6, 2014 6 Photos

  • Turtle Hello.jpg MIKE LUNSFORD: Wet in Wyoming, wandering turtles and other tales of the road

    It is an odd thing, after all the miles I drove a few weeks ago — to the mountains of Wyoming and back again — that today I remember most of all stopping along the road in two places nearly 600 miles apart.

    July 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • STATE OF THE STATEHOUSE: Financial hardships mount for military families

    Days before the July 4th holiday, Holly Petraeus stood on the steps of the imposing Indiana War Memorial, in front of a bank of cameras, and made a plea to military families: Don’t let pride stand in the way of asking for help.

    July 6, 2014

  • RESTAURANT INSPECTIONS: July 7, 2014

    June 16-20

    July 6, 2014

  • Man in critical condition after July 4 stabbing

    A Sullivan County man remained in critical condition Sunday at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis after being stabbed on July 4.

    July 6, 2014

  • MET07514 fair hunt:pete.jpg Day at the fair

    Though the Vigo County Fair officially opens today, Saturday was a busy day around the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds as open class exhibits were entered and judged and commercial vendors made final adjustments to their stands.

    July 5, 2014 11 Photos

  • MET07514 meth house.jpg Finding a meth lab

    Finding out if a property has been the previous site of a clandestine methamphetamine lab has become easier through a new online database recently rolled out by the Indiana State Police.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
World's Tallest Water Slide: See It for Yourself Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris Connecticut Boy Dies Inside Parked Car Police: Prostitute Accused in Overdose Death Fans Dying to Be Near Jazz Greats Israeli Offensive Escalates in Gaza Attack Service Held for 200 Whose Bodies Went Unclaimed Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Raw: Obama Shoots Pool in Denver APNewsBreak: Different Attackers in Benghazi? Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate "Hotwives" Spoofs Reality TV Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Dodgers Found Partly Responsible in Fan Beating Raw: 10-year Sentence for Ex-New Orleans Mayor Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family
NDN Video
Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1 'Purrmanently Sad Cat' Looks Adorably Sad All the Time Pharrell 'humbled' by success of mega-hit 'Happy' Day After: Brazil Reeling in WC Loss Jennifer Lawrence Facepalms Emma Watson Athletes Bare All for ESPN Magazine's Body Issue
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News