Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

May 17, 2013

First step toward a rewrite of the criminal code is signed into law


CNHI

INDIANAPOLIS — Rep. Greg Steuerwald (R-Avon) said he was pleased to see years of hard work come to fruition this week as Gov. Mike Pence signed House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1006, a rewrite of Indiana Criminal Code, into law.

“I have focused on implementing laws that will keep Hoosiers safe in our communities,” Steuerwald said. “HEA 1006 lays the foundation for the revision of Indiana’s criminal code for the first time in 30 plus years. It provides for certainty in sentencing as we must provide that the most violent offenders are sentenced for a more definite period. Victims will be fully informed of how long the offender’s sentence will actually be. The effective date of HEA 1006 is July 1, 2014 so we can revise the proposed sentencing guidelines and receive comment from experts in the criminal justice system.”                    

HEA 1006 was a product of the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission (CCEC), a summer study committee, which was to add proportionality to the criminal code and certainty in sentencing. The focus was on breaking the cycle through intensive probation to address the cause of the crime not just the symptoms. The changes that the CCEC recommended expand the four classes to six by dividing Class A and Class B into two parts each.

Steuerwald said Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate came together in a sustained effort to overhaul a criminal code that has not seen any significant changes in more than 30 years. Many people from around the state have spent thousands of hours studying Indiana’s justice system, recommending improvements to the criminal laws, and identifying methods that have proven to reduce crime. That effort resulted in HEA 1006, which created a committee to study a proposed rewrite of Indiana’s entire criminal code. The goal of the committee was to examine the proposed updated code and create a way for Indiana to cut state prison costs, while providing a sentence grid that applies a more specific sentence to criminal offenses, creating a safer and more responsible state.

HEA 1006 was recommended by the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission and coauthored by Rep. Jud McMillin (R-Brookville), Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington) and Rep. Linda Lawson (D-Hammond).

“HEA 1006 will benefit Indiana’s communities and its courts,” Steuerwald said. “We will thoroughly study the sentencing so that it best suits the crime, keeping violent and sexual offenders behind bars longer, and assist local community corrections in dealing with non-violent offenders.”

Steuerwald represents portions of Hendricks County. He is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and the Statutory Committee on Ethics and also serves on the Courts and Criminal Code Committee and Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee.