Give Now

General Assembly To Make Changes to Criminal Code Bill

Greg Steuerwald and Matt Pierce

Photo: Brandon Smith

Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) and Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Danville) discussing the technical corrections the legislature will consider

The full General Assembly will meet at the Statehouse Tuesday to make changes to the state’s criminal code overhaul before the law takes effect July first. 

The bulk of Indiana’s overhaul of the criminal code was passed in 2013.  But lawmakers put off its effective date until this summer so they could make further changes during the 2014 legislative session.

And in the wake of this year’s session, legislators and prosecutors have identified a few issues, mostly involving technical errors within the more than 400 page bill.

One of the two most substantive corrections involves child molesters.  Under the bill, people convicted of child molestation would be required to serve at least 30 years of their sentence, rather than the 38 years the legislature intended.

The other major correction deals with shoplifting.  Under current law, police can arrest shoplifters even if the officer didn’t personally witness the theft.

Danville Republican Representative Greg Steuerwald says the criminal code overhaul mistakenly did away with that provision.

“The police officer would have to come there and actually write a ticket – they can’t arrest them,” Steuerwald says. “The people would go home and then the prosecutor would have to go back to the court and get an arrest warrant.  It’s a very cumbersome process and would bog down the system, in my opinion, dramatically.”

The other technical changes deal with confusion regarding drug offenses; specifically, which drug amounts result in penalty enhancements.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.