On Monday, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bill (SB) 302, authored by State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes). SB 302 is a bipartisan effort to reform the state’s criminal justice system and make sure that all Hoosiers receive equal treatment by Indiana’s criminal courts.
“The point of this bill is to bring clarity to the criminal justice system when determining if defendants have the ability to afford a lawyer or other court fees,” Sen. Tallian said. “Right now the courts are looking at what it means to be indigent in many different ways. We are in agreement that all Hoosiers deserve equal treatment and consideration under the law.”
SB 302 would create consistency across all 92 Indiana counties when it comes to determining if someone is indigent and is entitled to a court-appointed attorney. Currently, counties have different ways of determining someone’s financial ability – meaning a Hoosier may qualify for an appointed attorney in one county but could be financially responsible for their own attorney in another county.
“We want equal justice for all,” Sen. Tallian said. “Let’s standardize the factors a court considers when deciding if someone is entitled to free representation.”
SB 302 now moves to the governor’s desk for his consideration.