Elkhart 4 Oral Argument – February 26, 2015

The Indiana Supreme Court has set the “Elkhart 4″ felony murder cases for oral argument on February 26, 2015, at 10:30 a.m.  On that day, the oral argument can be viewed online by going here.  The Court’s summary of the case follows:

“Appellants and two other teenagers participated in a burglary of a house chosen because they thought the owner was not home. One of the teenagers was shot and killed by the homeowner. Following a jury trial in the Elkhart Circuit Court, the appellants were convicted under Indiana’s felony murder statute, Indiana Code section 35-42-1-1. The convictions were affirmed in Layman v. State, 17 N.E.3d 957 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), transfer pending and Sharp v. State, 16 N.E.3d 470 (Ind. Ct. App. 2014), transfer pending. Appellants have petitioned the Supreme Court to accept jurisdiction over the appeal.”

For a prior post about the facts of the case and a summary of the relevant law, see this prior post.

For links to the transfer petition and responses, see this Indiana Law Blog post.

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HB 1304 — Many Juvenile Topics — Committee Hearing January 28, 2015

HB 1304 is a significant bill in terms of juvenile law this legislative session.  It includes many of the suggested changes from the Interim Study Committee on Criminal Code and Corrections, including:

  1. Modifying IC 5-2-6-24 to require the Criminal Justice Institute to “track the number of direct file charges of juveniles in adult courts.”  The term “direct file” is shorthand for the list of crimes for which the juvenile court has no jurisdiction as specified in IC 31-30-1-4.  The crimes include: murder, kidnapping, rape, some robbery charges, criminal gang intimidation, and some weapon charges.  If a sixteen or seventeen year old child is arrested for any of the listed crimes, the child is taken to the jail — not the juvenile detention center — and any charges are filed in criminal court and not juvenile court.  The requested data would shed light on the number of children who automatically are treated as adults due to these “direct file” charges.
  2. Adding intellectual disability to the qualifications for a forensic diversion program, if it was diagnosed prior to the eighteenth birthday
  3. Modifying the minimum age for certain types of waiver to criminal court.  The term “waiver” is shorthand for a process in which the juvenile court waives jurisdiction over a child and the case is transferred to a criminal court following a hearing in the juvenile court.
  4. Requiring that custodial interviews of juveniles by law enforcement officers be video and audio recorded.
  5. Requiring that the juvenile court make a specific finding of danger to the child or others in order to shackle a child during a juvenile court proceeding.
  6. Eliminating the statutes that allow status offenders (runaways and truants) to be sent to the Indiana Department of Correction for violation of a court order.

The bill is set for a committee hearing on January 28, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. at the State House.

Posted in Anti-Shackling, Confessions, DOC, Legislation, Waiver/Transfer | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Courts and Juvenile Justice Webinar – January 28, 2015

On January 28, 2015, from 3-4:30 p.m. ET, the webinar, “Courts and Juvenile Justice,” will be presented by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the Department of Health and Human Services.  Content will focus on strategies to prevent youth contact with the juvenile justice system, improving services for confined youth, and supporting juvenile reentry into the community after a period of confinement.

To register, go here.

For additional information about the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, go here.

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SB 46 — Self-defense Circumstances Limited

Senate Bill 46 (2015), if passed, would modify IC 35-41-3-2(g) to further limit when a person is justified in using force against another in self-defense.  The proposed section would not read:

“Notwithstanding sections (c) and (e), a person is not justified in using force if one (1) or more of the following apply:

(1)  The person is committed or is escaping after the commission of a crime.

(2)  The person provokes unlawful action by another person with intent to cause bodily injury to the other person, or

(3)  The person has entered into combat with another person or is the initial aggressor, unless the person withdraws from the encounter and communicates to the other person the intent to do so and the other person nevertheless continues or threatens to continue unlawful action;

(4)  The person has reached a place of safety after escaping an attack or potential attack and then shortly thereafter: (A) returns to the location of the attack; or (B) seeks out a person involved in the attack.  However, this subdivision does not prohibit a person from using reasonable force in accordance with this section if the location to which the person has returned is the person’s property or residence, or if the person returns with the intent to protect a third person from what the person reasonably believes to be the imminent use of unlawful force.

(5)  The person is pursuing an attacker or trespasser who: (A) has withdrawn or is retreating; and (B) no longer presents an imminent threat to the person.

Posted in Crimes, Legislation | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

SB 32 (2015) — Minor in Package Liquor Store

Senate Bill 32 (2015), if passed, would amend IC 7.1-5-7-11 to make it “lawful for a minor to be on the licensed premises of a package liquor store if the minor is: (1) employed under [certain circumstances defined at IC 7.1-5-7-13]…; or (2) in the company of the minor’s parent or guardian who is at least twenty-one (21) years of age.”

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SB 9 (2015) — Searches of Parolees and Probationers

Senate Bill 9 (2015), if passed, would allow that parole or probation rules could include a term enabling law enforcement officers to search or seize parolees (amending IC 11-13-3-4) or probationers (amending IC 35-38-2-2.3) at any time with or without a warrant and with or without good cause, so long as the search or seizure is not arbitrary, capricious, or conducted solely for the purpose of harassment.

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SB 243 (2015) — Prohibiting Racial Profiling

Senate Bill 243 (2015), if passed, would require that the Indiana Attorney General report every two years to the Indiana General Assembly concerning any complaints alleging racial profiling, including any results of an investigation.

The bill would specifically prohibit racial profiling, which is defined as: “(1) detention; (2) official restraint; or (3) other disparate treatment; of an individual solely on the basis of the racial or ethnic statute of the individual….[R]ace or ethnicity may not be the sole factor in: (1) determining the existence of probable cause to take into custody or to arrest an individual; or (2) constituting a particularized suspicion that an offense has been or is being committed in order to justify the detention of an individual or the investigatory stop of a motor vehicle.”

The law enforcement agencies who would be impacted by this bill include:

  1. A city or town police department,
  2. A town marshall system,
  3. A sheriff’s department,
  4. The State Police Department,
  5. The law enforcement division of the Department of Natural Resources,
  6. The excise police division of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission,
  7. A state university police department, and
  8. A school resource officer.
Posted in Crimes, Legislation | Tagged , | 1 Comment