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Senate Narrowly OKs Bill Overriding Local Prosecutors

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Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News

The Indiana attorney general and special prosecutors would be empowered to take over cases that local prosecutors won’t charge under legislation narrowly approved by the Senate Tuesday.

The measure would allow the attorney general to get a special prosecutor appointed if local prosecutors say they categorically won’t charge people for certain crimes. The local county would then be charged for that special prosecutor.

Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) said there are examples across the country where prosecutors announced such policies. He said his bill aims to prevent that from happening in Indiana.

READ MORE: How Do I Follow Indiana's Legislative Session? Here's Your Guide To Demystify The Process

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But Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) said Young is just upset that the Marion County prosecutor won’t charge people for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.

“If you want to be a prosecutor, run for prosecutor,” Taylor said.

Young said prosecutors can’t just decide which laws they want to prosecute.

“You want prosecutors to have these type of policies and there is no repercussions to them at all,” Young said.

All Indiana prosecutors have to stand for election every four years.

The bill now goes to the House after a 29-20 vote in the Senate.

CORRECTION: A previous version misidentified Dave Powell as IPAC's executive director. That is incorrect. He is the group's senior counsel.

Contact reporter 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.