Law & Criminal Justice

Death Penalty Ban For People With Mental Illness

Oct 11, 2017

Indiana lawmakers Wednesday studied the potential of a move to prohibit the death penalty in cases where a defendant has a serious mental illness.

The majority of people who testified at a study committee hearing – including mental health advocates, public defenders, and the Catholic Church – favor a death penalty ban for people who diagnoses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or traumatic brain injuries.

 

A key Indiana state lawmaker wants to dramatically increase penalties for certain drug and gun crimes.

The General Assembly rewrote its criminal code in recent years. Its aim was to drive more nonviolent, mostly drug offenders out of the prison system and into local treatment programs. And part of that was by giving judges more discretion in sentencing – to be able to decide what’s best for an individual offender.

Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis) wants to undo some of that.

An Indiana death row inmate says the state can’t use its current lethal injection drug because it didn’t follow the proper rulemaking procedures to choose it.

A trial court sided with the state; the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled for the inmate, which brought the case to the state Supreme Court.

The Department of Correction chose a new lethal injection drug cocktail in 2014 – a combination that’s never been used in this country.

Hoosier advocates for legislative redistricting reform hope a U.S. Supreme Court case on the issue will spur action in the Indiana General Assembly.

The case at the U.S. Supreme Court centers on what’s called partisan gerrymandering, or the manipulation of legislative districts to benefit a political party.

Ownership of beach property on Lake Michigan is in the balance in a lawsuit heard before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday. The case centers on the question of public versus private property, and it could have far-reaching consequences.

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