Juvenile justice

The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard SB 368 authored by Sen. Tallian regarding juvenile justice. The bill requires the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to track the number of children committed to jail. The bill repeals the juvenile direct file statute, increases the age at which a court may waive juveniles in certain circumstances, and makes certain firearm offenses waivable. The bill provides for the automatic expungement of certain juvenile offenses and removes the penalty of life without parole for persons who commit murder while less than 18 years of age. The bill makes it a mitigating factor for imposition of the death penalty that the defendant was less than 25 years of age. (Under current law, the mitigator applies if the defendant was less than 18).  The bill makes possession by a minor of marijuana and paraphernalia used with marijuana a juvenile status offense. The bill prohibits a juvenile arrestee who meets certain requirements from being housed with adult inmates prior to trial, with certain exceptions. The bill increases the availability of sentence modification for crimes committed by persons less than 18 years of age. The bill also establishes a procedure for determining juvenile competency.

The bill was amended by consent to remove everything from the bill except the competency determination procedure for juveniles, automatic expungement for misdemeanors unless based on the juvenile’s history a court decides otherwise, and the preference that juveniles should not be housed with adult inmates.

The Indiana Public Defender Council, Indiana Sherriffs Association, Indiana Juvenile Detention Association, Marion Public Defender Agency, Marion Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Gaither, Children of Indiana, and the Children’s Policy and Law Initiative testified in support of the bill.  The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council testified, but remined neutral.  The amended bill passed 6-1.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/senate/368