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Senate Committee Targets Marion County Prosecutor Over Marijuana Cases

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Ryan Mears
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A Senate committee approved a bill Tuesday that retaliates against Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears over his decision not to prosecute simple marijuana possession.

The measure empowers the attorney general to take over those cases.

The bill says if a local prosecutor makes a policy decision not to prosecute certain crimes, the Indiana Attorney General can appoint a special prosecutor to do so and charge the county to pay for it.

Parvonay Stover represents the AG.

“Our stance on this is simple: if you don’t like the laws on the books, come to the Statehouse and lobby to change them," Stover says. "Don’t just pick and choose to enforce the laws that you want to.”

READ MORE: Marion County Prosecutor Explains Marijuana Possession Policy

Dave Powell represents the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council. He says a local prosecutor’s discretion is their “holy grail.”

“You know, I filed the death penalty three times in my 20 years. I know of electeds who would never file the death penalty because they don’t believe in it," Powell says. "So, should they be removed from office?”

The committee passed the bill 6 to 3, though some who voted for it expressed serious reservations.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.