The Senate Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters Committee heard SB 347, Sen. Head’s bill to increase child solicitation punishment to a B felony if the defendant uses a computer network to solicit and travels to meet the child, or if the defendant has a prior child solicitation conviction. Sen. Young offered an amendment intended to address the holding in Doe v. Prosecutor, Marion County, Indiana, No. 12-2512 (7th Cir., Jan. 23, 2013), determining that current law violates the First Amendment by reaching too much protected speech. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council spoke in support of the bill. The Public Defender Council testified that the bill imposes a tougher punishment on a person who used a computer and travelled to meet a child with the intent to fondle than on a person who actually fondles a child. The Committee held the bill to allow further study of the First Amendment and proportional punishment issues.
The Senate Corrections Committee heard SB 362, Sen. Crider’s bill to add health care providers to the list of persons protected under the battery by bodily waste offense. The bill makes the battery by bodily waste offense apply to placing blood or other bodily fluid or waste on an employee, an agent, or a volunteer of a health care provider. Deborah Daniels explained that the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission (“CCEC”) Criminal Code Reform Bill limited the classes of persons protected under the battery by bodily waste offense. After members expressed reservations about the CCEC reduction in the classes of protected persons under the offense, the bill passed 10-0.
The Senate Corrections Committee heard SB 496, Sen. Yoder’s bill on the control of ephedrine and pseudoephedrine that limits sales. An amendment, prompted by fiscal concerns, removes the State Police registry. The bill was also amended to limit the annual amount an individual could purchase without a prescription to 61 grams, approximately an eight-month supply. Despite concerns that year-round allergy sufferers might have to pay for prescriptions, the bill passed 10-0.
The Senate Corrections Committee heard Sen. Merritt’s SB 536 on synthetic drugs. The bill provides for the revocation of a retail license for selling or offering to sell either a synthetic drug or a look-alike synthetic drug. The bill also continues the authorization for the State Pharmacy Board to declare substances to be synthetic, authorizes the Attorney General to bring actions to obtain injunctions of the sale of synthetic substances or synthetic look-alikes, and adds dealing in synthetic drugs or “synthetic drug look-alike substances” to both the list of offenses permitting forfeiture of vehicles and other property and the list of Indiana’s racketeering offenses. It additionally creates a new A infraction/D or C felony of manufacturing or dealing a synthetic drug or “synthetic drug look-alike substance.” Some Committee members expressed concern that a business could lose its license and be subject to forfeiture for what amounts to a Class A infraction, without any “safety valve.” The bill was amended to be effective upon passage. The amended bill passed, 6-3.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1256, authored by Rep. Dermody and Rep. Lawson, on unlawful possession of items in penal facilities, authorizing a fine for the offense of trafficking with an inmate. The bill was amended to provide for a fine of “at least” $500 “but not more than” $1,000. The bill passed as amended 11-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1482, Rep. McMillin’s bill on the expungement of criminal records. The bill repeals the Ind. Code § 35-38-8 and Ind. Code § 35-38-5.5 statutes adopted a few years ago to provide for restricted access to conviction and arrest records. An amendment was adopted by consent. With specified exceptions for some offenses and offenders, the passed bill requires a sentencing court to “expunge” conviction or delinquency records of nonviolent misdemeanors or D felonies if (1) it has been 10 years since conviction, (2) there have been no new convictions, and (3) no new charges are pending. With specified exceptions for some offenses and offenders, the bill permits a sentencing court to “expunge” records of convictions for any felonies which did not result in serious bodily injury if (1) the later of 10 years have passed since the person’s conviction, or five years have passed since completion of the person’s sentence; (2) the person has not committed a new offense; and (3) no new charges are pending. With specified exceptions for some offenses or offenders, the bill requires a court to restrict disclosure of arrest records to all except criminal justice agencies if the arrest (1) did not result in a conviction; or (2) resulted in a conviction that was vacated on appeal; specifies that the restricting court is to be the court in which sentence was imposed, or in which charges were filed, or any court with criminal jurisdiction if no charges were filed or no sentence was imposed. The bill also requires the court which orders “expungement” of a conviction to order the Dept. of Correction, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, and any other person who provided treatment or services to prohibit release of its records to anyone without a court order. A court ordering expungement is to order any state, regional, or local central repository for criminal history information to send its records to the court, and to seal its court records. The court also must notify the clerk of the Supreme Court to seal the clerk’s records if an appeal was taken. After expungement is ordered no central repository for criminal history information is to place or retain any information about the conviction in its records. Also, after expungement, the pertinent records of the sentencing or adjudicating court, the Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court “shall be permanently sealed” and “[o]ther records concerning the person may be given to the person or destroyed.” A prosecuting attorney may petition the court which expunged records to have access to the records by showing that the records are relevant “for a new prosecution of the person.” The bill passed as amended 9-2.
This is the thirteenth weekly installment of the Legislative Update for the 2009 legislative session. As in the past, the Indiana Judicial Center will report on matters of interest to the judiciary. Below are the summaries of bills of interest heard this week in committee. As a reminder, the last day for third readings in the House and Senate is Wednesday, April 15th.
If you are interested in reading the text of any bill introduced this session, you may find bill information on Access Indiana at: http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo.
We have reached the halfway point of the session. This installment is a series of topical charts detailing the status of bills of interest to the Judiciary that were heard on third reading. If a bill was amended at any stage in the legislative process, it is designated with an “-A” at the relevant stage.
If you are interested in reading the text of any bill introduced this session, you may find bill information on Access Indiana at http://www.in.gov/apps/lsa/session/billwatch/billinfo.
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