Jul 12, 2006

HEA 1155 Sex Offenders

It’s hard to feel bad for convicted sex offenders. They have committed terrible crimes on our most innocent and vulnerable. But even for society’s most undesirable members we must draw some line of privacy rights and human dignity. The 2005 Indiana Sex Offenders law, on top of the already existing public Sex Offenders Registry, requires offenders to notify law enforcement if he/she will be absent from his/her home for more than 72 hours. If the offender is living in temporary housing he/she must register every seven days and requires law enforcement to personally visit the residence. While we recognize that these crimes are very serious, it seems as though a person who has paid the price and spent what society considers to be an appropriate amount of time in prison, has paid his/her debt to society. To then compel that person to spend the rest of his/her life without any privacy borders on Big Brother. In addition, the use of law enforcement and bureaucracy to process these offenders and visit their homes when they could be out preventing new crime is inefficient, unsafe and a waste of taxpayer money.

Author: Mary Kay Budak
Sonsor: David C. Long

HEA 1049 Controlled Substance Crimes and Child Neglect

Child neglect is a very serious crime. No one wants to see children neglected. New Indiana legislation now qualifies some neglect as worse than other neglect, based not on the effect on the victim but on the motive or circumstances of the perpetrator. Evidently, the Indiana Legislature considers a child neglected by parents who are alcoholic, disinterested, intentionally hateful, or for a host of other reasons to be less injured than children who are neglected by a parent who runs a meth lab. I think the victims would disagree. All children deserve protection, not just those whose personal tragedy happens to play into lawmakers’ politically driven meth-crusade agenda. The new Indiana Law on Controlled Substances makes the crime of neglect of a dependent a class C felony if and only if: 1) it results from the manufacture of cocaine, methamphetamine or a narcotic drug; or 2) is committed in an area where cocaine, methamphetamine or a narcotic drug is being manufactured, delivered or financed. Child neglect is a terrible crime. Perhaps Class C felony is the appropriate charge for such a heinous crime. But what is it about the setting that makes it worse just because it involves a drug lab? Neglect is neglect and just because a parent neglects his/her children in a home that does not manufacture drugs does not make it excusable. That child is no less injured. This is similar to hate crime legislation, which in many states specifies an added penalty to a crime based on its motives. The Supreme Court ruled one such Minnesota law unconstitutional in the 1992 R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul. Crimes should be punished for their results, not their motives.

LPIN Legislative Center Returns

The LPIN Legislative Center returns shortly to the blogosphere with our weekly postings reviewing laws that went into effect following the 2006 legislative session of the Indiana General Assembly. Some we like; some we hate; most are just not necessary. You be the judge.

Check back weekly as the new reviews are posted.
Site Meter