STATEHOUSE (Feb. 19, 2019) – “Today, the Senate accepted my amendment to Senate Bill 12, which I believe includes and covers all individuals. As it now stands, SB 12 specifies that a court could aggravate a person’s criminal sentence if bias is a factor in their crime.
“Previously, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that Indiana’s existing sentencing law allows judges to aggravate a person’s criminal sentence based on a bias motive. My amendment would cement that concept into statute.
“In the 2003 Witmer vs. State of Indiana ruling by the Indiana Supreme Court, the following was said:
‘… we have affirmed the notion that characteristics of the victims can support an enhanced sentence … and we say without hesitation that racially motivated crimes are intolerable and may constitute an aggravating circumstance.’
“I stand by this notion and believe that with my amendment, this bill could be used by the courts to punish those who harm any individual because of a bias against their victim.”
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