Criminal Justice

Sarah Fentem / WBAA

The Lafayette Police Department is hoping new initiatives to increase visibility and effectiveness in the community will help crack down on an increase in drug-related crime.

Mayor Tony Roswarski says the amount of drug-related crime has increased along with the statewide surge in heroin and methamphetamine use. As the police pointed out Thursday, hardly anyone robs a convenience store or commits fraud against their friends family in order to buy a family dinner.

Indiana House Democrats / http://indianahousedemocrats.org

Attorney General Greg Zoeller Wednesday announced the creation of a non-profit organization dedicated to helping sexual assault victims.  The new group will fill the role vacated when the Indiana Coalition Against Sexual Assault, or INCASA, fell apart last year.

The new organization is called the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault.  Using public and private dollars, it will connect sexual assault service efforts around the state, provide support for victims and training for advocates. 

Jimmy Emerson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/auvet/4716903349

After a year of struggling to bring an HIV epidemic under control, the Scott County city of Austin is now confronting a problem of police manpower.

Austin has six officers for a city of 4,300. However, police say federal standards suggest the city should have twice that much manpower.

Mayor Doug Campbell says the police force has been undermanned for years, even before the drug problem blamed for the HIV outbreak led to more police calls too.

VIEVU / http://www.vievu.com/

Indiana law enforcement and municipal officials caution lawmakers Wednesday against a broad policy of releasing police body camera videos to the public, citing both privacy and due process concerns. 

Indiana’s public access law doesn’t specifically mention police body camera footage.  But it does have what’s called an “investigatory record” exception – meaning that law enforcement can indefinitely withhold information if it’s involved in an investigation, even after the investigation is over.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

Just one year after Indiana’s comprehensive criminal code overhaul took effect, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council wants to increase drug dealing penalties. 

Indiana’s criminal code reform, which took five years to craft, was aimed largely at reducing penalties for low-level, nonviolent drug offenses in an effort to focus more on treatment and reduce recidivism. 

But a year into that reform, Prosecuting Attorneys Council head David Powell says he wants to add more teeth to the state’s drug dealing sentences.

Ynse / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ynse/542370154/

If you’re arrested for a felony in Indiana, should the police automatically take a DNA sample to keep on file?  That’s the question a panel of lawmakers considered this week during a study committee hearing.

In Indiana, police input an offender’s DNA for comparison in a national database only after conviction of a felony.  So-called “DNA arrestee testing” laws would allow law enforcement to take those samples after a felony arrest. 

Anna Hanks / https://www.flickr.com/photos/annaustin/15405501922/

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle has been charged with child pornography and sex with minors, weeks after investigators raided his Zionsville home.

Hands crossed and remaining seated, Fogle briefly appeared before a judge Wednesday to be charged with possession of child pornography and traveling to New York City to have sex with underage girls. As he left the federal courthouse, a swarm of cameras and heckling onlookers were outside.

His attorney, Jeremy Margolis says Fogle will plead guilty.

Federal Bureau of Prisons

It could be years before convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is brought to the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute to be executed.

Tsarnaev was moved earlier this week to a maximum security penitentiary in Colorado.

If Tsarnaev’s death penalty is carried out, he will eventually come to Terre Haute, which is home to the only federal prison that conducts executions.

There’s little or no indication, however, of when Tsarnaev could be brought to Indiana, says Indiana State University criminologist Mark Hamm.

Joe Gratz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegratz/

Governor Mike Pence Friday announced his pick to fill a vacancy on the Indiana Court of Appeals – the first such appointment Pence has made in his two and a half years in office. 

Robert Altice has been through this process before – three times he’s been nominated to fill an Appeals Court vacancy.  And as Altice put it, the third time was the charm. 

The Marion County Superior Court judge and former Marion County Deputy Prosecutor was chosen from three nominees to fill the seat of Appeals Court Judge Ezra Friedlander, who’s retiring after 22 years in the post. 

Eric Bridiers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/us-mission/14721716270

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch says the justice department will rely on local police to help develop trust between minorities and the criminal justice system. Lynch spoke Monday at a law enforcement conference in Indianapolis.

The Justice Department is funding a nearly $5 million initiative aimed at improving relations between law enforcement and minority communities.

That initiative is starting in six pilot communities, including Gary, Indiana.

Pages