Law and Criminal Justice

Thibaud Saintin / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thibaud_saintin/

Federal, state and local law enforcement are increasing public awareness and enforcement efforts surrounding human trafficking as Indiana prepares for the Indianapolis 500. 

Officials say Indiana is a “hub” for human sex trafficking because of the large sporting events it often hosts.

Former Subway Spokesman Jared Fogle Files Appeal

Apr 22, 2016
Joe Gratz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegratz/117048243

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle is due back in a Chicago courtroom May 20 for an appeals hearing.

Fogle is looking for a shorter sentence because an Indiana judge went over the 5-to-12.5 year sentencing range laid out in a plea agreement.

He's currently slated to serve more than 15 years.

Prosecutors say the sentence is warranted because Fogle's fantasies about underage kids were rooted in reality.

Noah Coffey / https://www.flickr.com/photos/noahwesley/

Ed. note: An earlier version of this story indicated the law would go into effect in July 2016. The story has been updated to correct the error.  

Starting in July 2017, Indiana will become the first state in the nation maintaining a child abuse offender registry,

The new law tracks anyone who has ever been convicted in Indiana of child neglect – or physical or sexual abuse of a child.

The Offender Registry will be maintained by the Division of State Court Administration.

Thomas Hawk / https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

Indiana judges will no longer be able to reduce sentences for serious heroin or meth dealers.  The General Assembly made this change in the law this past session -- but some lawmakers say the change begins to unravel the recent overhaul of Indiana’s criminal code.

Joe Gratz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joegratz/117048243

The Owen County Prosecutor says he hasn’t decided whether to pursue the death penalty for the man accused of raping and killing one-year-old Shaylyn Ammerman.

In order for a case to qualify for the death penalty, it must meet at least one of 18 circumstances outlined by the General Assembly. One of those circumstances is murder of a child.

Assistant Executive Director of the Indiana Public Defender Council Paula Sites says fewer county prosecutors are pursuing capital punishment.

Pence Vetoes Private College Police Records Bill

Mar 24, 2016
Karin Beil / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kbeil/6807532616

Governor Mike Pence Thursday vetoed a bill aimed at requiring more transparency from private university police departments, but which Pence says does the opposite.

The bill would have declared private university police departments public agencies, but at the same time would only require them to disclose records about people they arrest or put in jail.

Governor Pence said in a statement that limiting access to private university police records is a disservice to the public, so he vetoed the bill.

New legislation awaiting the governor’s signature extends more privacy rights to sexual assault and domestic abuse victims on college campuses. Previously, a legal loophole that didn’t protect personal information given to victims’ advocates left some victims vulnerable.

Current law provides what’s called “testimonial privilege” to sexual assault and domestic violence victim advocates, such as people who work at rape crisis centers.  Democratic Representative Christina Hale says that means an advocate can’t be compelled to reveal a victim’s personal details in court.

Christian Schnettelker / https://www.flickr.com/photos/manoftaste-de/

The Indiana Court of Appeals says the University of Notre Dame’s security police department is a public agency and therefore should comply with open records requests.

But questions remain about what types of records the university must release.

The ruling is the latest decision in a lawsuit ESPN filed against Notre Dame last year for failing to hand over records the sports network requested.

ESPN had requested records from several universities as part of an inquiry into interactions between university police departments and student athletes.

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

A bill regulating when police body camera videos are released to the public cleared one of its last major legislative hurdles Tuesday – the Senate passed the bill in a near-unanimous vote.

Sen. Rod Bray (R-Martinsville) says one of the biggest issues in the House version of the bill was the burden it placed on the public and the press to prove a police body cam video should be released to the public. 

The Senate switched that burden – now law enforcement would have to prove in a court that it shouldn’t.  Bray also notes the importance of what’s not in the bill.

Lafayette Police Thursday confirmed violent crime did, in fact, increase in the city in 2015.

“Where we saw probably our biggest jump in 2015 was in aggravated assaults," says Police Chief Pat Flannelly. "In 2015, we had 323, as compared to 219 in 2014.”

Flannelly notes the aggravated assaults, or attacks involving a weapon, account for most of a 115-incident, year-over-year increase in violent crime.

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