Remember when the duty of a police force was to “protect and serve”? It seems we are moving away from this smiling face officer, ready to help a child find it’s lost dog or a woman locked out of her car, and into a job description that would be more aptly described as to “protect (some people) and arrest”. In Indianapolis, that changing role is growing even further as the police are outsourcing some of their more “service” oriented roles. [Read more…]
As the tide of marijuana attitudes changes, sweeping over the nation and generally leaving lesser penalties and a lower stigma in its wake, Indiana is somehow missing the boat. According to the Associated Press, a committee of state senators recently voted to approve changes to the state’s criminal sentencing laws, including a provision that would increase penalties for some marijuana possession cases.
The Senate’s Corrections and Criminal Law Committee was working to change several aspects of the criminal laws in Indiana, but the change to marijuana punishments seems to be a change in the wrong direction.
Passed by a vote of 8-1, the proposed changes have a long way to go before becoming law, but there are indications it could make it all the way through the lawmaking process.
Basically, the law would decrease the threshold for which a marijuana possession case went from being charged as a misdemeanor to being charged as a felony.
Currently, if you are charged with possession of any amount less than 50 pounds, you face misdemeanor charges in the state. The Committee determined that possession of between about one-third of an ounce and 10 pounds should be classified as the lowest level felony, rather than the highest level misdemeanor, where it is now.
“That’s about a $50,000 street value,” said David Powell of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, who supports the change. “You know that’s not for personal use.”
While Powell may be onto something, that few people would possess 10 pounds of pot for personal use, what he’s missing is the fact that what he is referring to (having marijuana with the intent to sell or share it), can be charged as another crime altogether (possession with intent to sell), really negating the need to change the current possession charge at all.
In addition to the possible marijuana change, the committee has also recommended changes be made that would help the lowest-level offenders have access to work release while those convicted of more serious crimes would be likely to spend more time in prison.
They scrapped a plan that would have increased the percentage of a sentence that someone would be mandated to serve, from 50% (where it currently stands), to 75%, determining that increasing the sentence length would remove some of the incentive for inmates to behave better while behind bars.
It’s not unusual for lawmakers to make decisions that seem to fly in the face of nationwide trends or have no seeming respect for what it is the people want. They often seem to run their own show. This particular bill has a long way to go before becoming law, which means there is time to contact local lawmakers and let them know you don’t want marijuana penalties increased.
In the meantime, if you are charged with a marijuana offense, know that you have rights and all is not lost. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and how we might be able to help.
An Indianapolis man has filed a lawsuit against the city’s Metropolitan Police Department alleging he was beaten when cops thought he was on drugs. The man’s behavior, he says, was caused by a seizure disorder, something his sister told the officers as they tried to arrest him mid-seizure. [Read more…]
In the latest news of overreaching law enforcement, an Indiana couple is facing criminal charges for rescuing an injured deer and nursing it to health. The couple is just one example of law enforcement overstepping their bounds and searching for a way to penalize even the most benign of activities. [Read more…]
The drive Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department cars; they wear the uniforms, and carry the guns, but these officers aren’t being paid by the city. Neighborhoods are hiring off-duty cops to come through their communities and keep them safe, at annual rates and to the dismay of some critics. [Read more…]
If the police were looking for the type of person that would post threats on a comment section of a blog, what do you think is the first thing they would do? Maybe they would attempt to identify that person and talk to them about the threats—determining if they were nothing more than snarky Internet trolling gone-bad or if there was a legitimate threat. Or maybe they would just bring the SWAT team in and bust out a window and door where the suspect may or may not be hiding. [Read more…]
The Allen County Sherrif’s Department is under fire after a unique drunk-driving stop last weekend. According to Wane.com, Allen County Councilman Paul Moss was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. But before the Fort Wayne Police could arrive to give any sobriety tests, the Sheriff had ordered Moss to be released. [Read more…]
In Indiana, someone who takes out a restraining order in an abusive relationship can lose their job as a result. There is no protection for such firings under Indiana law, and that’s something that many people think needs changing. [Read more…]
For the second time, Indianapolis Police are under fire for mishandling the evidence in a case where a cop is accused of driving his squad car into motorcyclists while he was allegedly drunk, killing one. Community members, leaders, and even other cops are calling for a major shake-up within the department. [Read more…]