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Indiana General Assembly attempts to stop prosecutors who choose not to prosecute certain crimes

SB 284 would have prosecutors in Indiana elect three board members to oversee complaints of noncompliance
Posted at 9:43 PM, Mar 29, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS — Marijuana is illegal in Indiana and a near total ban on abortion is on hold. However, Marion Country Prosecutor Ryan Mears went on the record saying he won't go after people who have small amounts of marijuana or doctors that perform abortions.

Republican lawmakers feel Mears' stance violates how our government works.

To address this issue, lawmakers proposed Senate Bill 284, which would have prosecutors in Indiana elect three board members to oversee complaints of noncompliance.

Those that are elected would come from the northern, central and southern part of the state. No more than two would be able to be of the same political affiliation.

“I don’t want to be in this position,” State Senator Aaron Freeman, a Republican representing district 32 and author of the bill, said. “I want to make laws and I expect the executive to carry out the laws that we are making on behalf of the citizens.”

According to Freeman, if someone made a complaint, the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council (IPAC) would investigate. The elected board would then determine whether the prosecutor is compliant or not and if they should be granted jurisdiction.

The IPAC is supporting SB 284 even though they testified that they wouldn’t. They now say they understand where the legislature is coming from.

“We don’t love being in this situation,” Courtney Curtis, the Assistant Executive Director for IPAC, said. “But we do understand that members of your bodies don’t love being in this situation either. We feel we are the best body to handle this problem.”

Some Indiana residents disagree with the Indiana General Assembly.

"Republicans are the ones that frequently talk about how we need local control and that we need to keep the government out of our lives. We need to keep the state from telling us what to do,” Nathan Blevins, a Marion County Resident, said. “So, I think that is them doing the opposite of what they say they are going to do."

Another Marion County resident says she appreciates Mears’ attempt to stand up for the people and trying in whatever way he can to defy the laws that many disagree with.

One women WRTV spoke with says she doesn’t agree with the policies the General Assembly is passing, but she believes that prosecutors should uphold their oath of office.

“I don’t agree with the legislature, but the law is the law,” Tammy Shuler, a Marion County resident, said.

SB 284 has passed out of the Senate and is currently working its way through the house.

WRTV reached out to Prosecutor Mears for a comment on this legislation but we are still waiting on a response.