Updated: Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012, 6:47 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 04 Sep 2012, 5:48 PM EDT
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Major changes might be on the way for Indiana's Criminal Code.
It's an overhaul years in the making. It was 1977 the last time the state's criminal codes were revamped.
The commission that proposed this spent quite a bit of time on it. They use 365 pages to explain the changes they request for the felony codes alone.
Those are the only ones mentioned in the new plans.
Even so, the committee touches on several areas of major changes they'd like to see.
The first change would be a whole new layout for felony charges.
A larger variation allows for punishments more suited for the crimes.
For instance, right now, dealing in methamphetamine falls in the worst felony category, meaning the penalty for it is greater than a rape charge. Altering the structure could create a better fit for charges.
In a recent case, Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modesitt found the county in a predicament of its own when it came to charging for a crime.
"A couple took a child and left this jurisdiction and went out of state,” Modesitt explained. “Everybody was saying that's kidnapping, but under Indiana law, for instance, it's not kidnapping. They just took the child, didn't plan on returning the child, but they weren't asking for a ransom.”
“Under the Indiana law, you have to ask for a ransom or it doesn't constitute kidnapping. The crime just does not fit the way the legislature has written the law."
That case highlighted a key misunderstanding by many people.
Prosecutors and judges are bound by laws created by the Indiana legislature. They are also tied to sentencing standards created by lawmakers as well. Crimes fall under categories and directly link to sentences, tying prosecutors to the books directly.
Another point of contention that needs attention is jail overcrowding.
It's one of the key reasons for making changes, but it'll be up to the legislature as to how the overhaul works on fixing that problem.
The complete report for that case is available here .
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