The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law committee heard SB 449 on juveniles. The bill is authored by Sen. Houchin and does the following: 

  • for certain serious offenses committed by a juvenile: (1) reduces the minimum age for committing the child to the department of correction from 13 to 12; (2) adds an attempt to commit certain serious offenses to the list of serious offenses; and (3) permits the court to commit a juvenile to the department of correction for up to six years. (Under current law, the juvenile may only be committed until the child reaches 18 years of age.) 
  • removes the two-year cap on certain placements that applies to certain recidivist juveniles  
  • allows the waiver of a juvenile charged with attempted murder to adult court if the juvenile is at least 12 years of age (Under current law, waiver is only permitted for a juvenile of that age for murder.)  
  • specifies that the juvenile court lacks jurisdiction over certain juveniles charged with an attempt to commit certain crimes  
  • repeals an obsolete provision and makes conforming amendments 

The bill was amended by consent before testimony to remove from the bill a provision repealing a restriction on the DOC’s ability to reduce a placement under a dispositional decreerequire the department of correction to provide the court with a progress report concerning certain children over whom the department has wardship and who may remain in the custody of the department beyond the age of 18, and specify that the court shall review the report and determine the appropriateness of release. 

The committee made two additional amendments after hearing testimony.  The bill was amended to remove the waiver provision for a child 12 years of age charged with murder andto create a disproportionality review panel under the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to examine juvenile court direct file, discretionary transfer, and waiver provisions for disparate racial impact 

Marion County Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn MooresAllen County Juvenile Court Judge Charlie Pratt, the Indiana Public Defender Councilthe Indiana State Public Defender, the Marion County Public Defender Agency, and the ACLU of Indiana testified in opposition to the bill.  Members of the public, including social workers, pastors, former inmates, and social welfare organizations also testified in opposition to the bill.  The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified in support of the bill.  The amended bill passed 4-2. 

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2020/bills/senate/449