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Last updated on Friday, April 8, 2011
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - Hoosier prosecutors are firing back at Governor Daniels’ threat to veto their bill requiring longer sentences for the worst violent offenders.
In a house committee hearing stretching more than four hours, a parade of prosecutors and crime victims emotionally reminded legislators of the horrific crimes they've encountered, and defended prosecutors' push to ensure those offenders serve at least 85% of their sentences.
Under Indiana law, inmates can cut their sentences in half with good behavior behind bars.
Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council Executive Director Stephen J. Johnson says other credits enacted since 1993, including one for earning a degree while in prison, have led to what he says are improperly short sentences, with the attacker in a particularly brutal rape serving just six years despite receiving the 20-year maximum.
Daniels and Chief Justice Randall Shepard had led a bipartisan call for a sentencing reform bill to stop spiraling prison costs by steering drug offenders and other nonviolent inmates away from prison and into alternative sentencing.
Daniels charges a "minority of prosecutors" hijacked the bill in the senate, attaching truth-in-sentencing language he says would cost the state more than a billion dollars by 2018.
Dearborn, Ohio Prosecutor Aaron Negangard says he's personally talked to all 90 of the state's other prosecutors, and says they're unanimous in supporting the truth-in-sentencing amendment.
Prosecutors say attaching it to the sentencing-reform bill represents their best chance of winning a hearing and passage.
The committee has put off a vote on the bill until next week.
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