February 24, 2022

Senate bill that would allow state AG to intervene at county level dies

The Indiana Statehouse. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Statehouse.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

A Senate bill that would give the Indiana Attorney General power to intervene with a county prosecutor’s decision has died in the House.

The bill, SB 165, was introduced last month and passed the Senate, but it did not receive a hearing in the House.  Under the bill, the attorney general could request an outside special prosecutor be appointed if a county prosecutor refused to “categorically” prosecute certain crimes.

The bill’s author, Sen. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis), referenced Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears’ decision to not prosecute simple marijunaa possession cases.

Mears announced in 2019 that he would not file charges against those who were in possession of less than an ounce of marjuana because these cases disproportionately affect people of color.

At a committee hearing last month, Young emphasized that the bill has been in the works since before Mears took office.

Although the bill itself is dead, the language could be amended into another bill since it passed the Senate.

Contact WFYI criminal justice reporter Katrina Pross at kpross@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @katrina_pross.

Pross is a Corps Member of Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project.

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