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:
- 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.
- Adding intellectual disability to the qualifications for a forensic diversion program, if it was diagnosed prior to the eighteenth birthday
- 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.
- Requiring that custodial interviews of juveniles by law enforcement officers be video and audio recorded.
- 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.
- 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.