Contact: Shannon F. Sanders, Press Secretary
STATEHOUSE (Feb. 12, 2019) – Today, a bill co-authored by State Sen. Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis) that would eliminate the drug-trafficking loopholes passed the Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law by a vote of 7-2.
Under current law, when a court is deciding whether or not to suspend part of a Level 2 or Level 3 felon’s sentence, they cannot reduce the sentence below the minimum sentence if the criminal has a prior felony conviction.
However, for many Level 2 or Level 3 drug-trafficking felonies, such as dealing methamphetamine and cocaine, the court is free to suspend as much of the sentence as they determine necessary, even for offenders with prior convictions. This loophole gives drug traffickers special treatment by allowing their sentences to be suspended.
From July 1, 2014 to Feb. 1, 2017, 40 percent of all drug traffickers and almost 25 percent of all Level 2 drug-trafficking felonies did not serve any jail or prison time in Indiana.
Senate Bill 76 would eliminate this loophole and require Level 2 and Level 3 drug traffickers with prior convictions to serve minimum sentences.
This session, Freeman also authored Senate Bill 237, which, similar to SB 76, would eliminate the loophole that enables drug traffickers with previous convictions to serve less than the full minimum sentence or more.
“We must ensure the criminals who are enabling drug abuse are serving the sentences they deserve and protect our families and communities,” Freeman said. “These bills would eliminate this loophole and place offenders in jail or prison.”
SB 76 will now move to the full Senate for further consideration.
Click here for a high-resolution photo of Freeman.