Saturday, April 30, 2005

SB 96: Now P.L. 71

According to this summary of enrolled acts (thanks to Masson's Blog), Senate Bill 96 (SB 96) became Public Law 71 on April 25th. I note that at least one affected code section on Access Indiana's web site, Ind. Code § 35-38-1-7.1, has not been updated yet. Neither have a couple of other aftected sections that I have checked. With the long legislative session, there's a lot to update. I wonder how long it will take.

[Update: Marcia Oddi has written me that the Access Indiana online Indiana Code will not be up to date until September. So we are now in a period when we have to be very careful with any reliance on Access Indiana's version of the code.

New laws have various effective dates. I think the default is usually July 1st of the year of passage. P.L. 71 declared "an emergency," however, and became effective the day it was signed, April 25th.]

Some lawyers have been wondering what effect P.L. 71 is going to have on pipeline cases. The law itself does not say. The general rule is that the sentencing law in effect at the time a crime is committed controls. There is an exception to that in the doctrine of amelioration. But that does not apply here, because "the test to determine whether the legislature has enacted an ameliorative statute is whether the maximum penalty under the new statute is lower than the maximum penalty under the old statute.if the maximum sentence." Hooker v. State, 799 N.E.2d 561, 575 (Ind. Ct. App. 2003) (citing Palmer v. State, 679 N.E.2d 887, 892 n.4 (Ind. 1997)). None of the maximum penalties have been altered by P.L. 71.

So my take is that the situation is not in the least ambiguous: The familiar "presumptive sentence" scheme and Blakely and Smylie apply to any sentencing for a crime committed before April 25, 2005. I certainly welcome other opinions.

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