Representative McNamara has introduced a bill to create a new section to the juvenile sentencing statutory scheme. The nexus of this bill is to allow a court to impose sentencing on convicted youth offenders who were waived to adult court but that is still consistent with consideration of the youthfulness of these offenders.
House Bill 1108 affects the following citations :IC 31-30-4. The synopsis is as follows:
Sentencing alternatives for youthful offenders. Establishes sentencing alternatives for courts with criminal jurisdiction for:
(1) offenders who are less than 18 years of age who have been waived from a juvenile court to a court with criminal jurisdiction and who are charged as adult offenders; and
(2) offenders who are less than 18 years of age who do not come under the jurisdiction of a juvenile court because the offenders are charged with certain criminal offenses.
Provides that if such an offender is convicted of committing a felony or pleads guilty to committing a felony, a criminal court may:
(1) impose an appropriate criminal sentence on the offender;
(2) suspend the criminal sentence imposed;
(3) order the offender to be placed into the custody of the department of correction to be placed in a juvenile facility of the division of youth services, if the department agrees to the placement; and
(4) provide that the successful completion of the placement of the offender in the juvenile facility is a condition of the suspended criminal sentence.
Provides that when an offender becomes 18 years of age, the sentencing court must hold a review hearing concerning the offender before the offender becomes 19 years of age.
Allows the sentencing court, after the review hearing, to:
(1) discharge the offender if the sentencing court finds that the objectives of the sentence imposed on the offender have been met;
(2) order execution of all or part of the offender's suspended criminal sentence in an adult facility of the department of correction; or
(3) place the offender in home detention, in a community corrections program, on probation, or in any other appropriate alternative sentencing program.
As a youngster I served over a year under the care and hospice of the United States Bureau of Prisons at a high security institution subsequent to the first arrest of my life. My sentence was cut short upon appeal because Judge Sarah Evans Barker had sentenced me to two years beyond the lawful maximum. A period of incarceration for me as for anyone engaged in such wild and aberrant behaviours was appropriate. At the same time I also feel that societal clamoring for imposition of tougher penalties is inappropriate. A brief period of incarceration for a youngster who needs a “time-out” can be just as or more effective for the offender and society than a long term sentence.
The bill passed out of the Criminal Committee by a vote of 10-2 as amended.
Judges are to be empowered with the authority to make judgments which include disparity in sentencing based upon the circumstances of the case. Absent abuse of this authority it should be encouraged. I support Representative McNamara in her bill.
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