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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Monday, March 21, 2005

Indiana Legislature Considers Inspector General to Prosecute Crimes by State Employees

Last week, the Indiana House of Representatives passed a bill that would give the governor's inspector general the power to prosecute certain crimes.  Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels created the inspector general position in January with the goal of abating corruption by state employees.  The bill passed 98-0, although Democrats launched a House boycott a couple weeks ago in response to the bill, because they considered it a dangerous combination of executive and judicial functions in the governor-appointed inspector general.  The original bill that Democrats boycotted would have authorized the inspector general to prosecute suspected government crimes if local prosecutors failed to charge the crimes within 6 months of their occurrence.  The amended version that passed 98-0 allows an appeals court judge either 1) to appoint the inspector general to prosecute these cases or 2) to choose an elected county prosecutor as a special prosecutor for these cases.  Despite unanimous passage, Democrats are still wary of a governor-appointed official having the power to prosecute state employees and the amount of resources that the inspector general may use to execute this new function.  "I'm not sure the State Police can afford the manpower to provide investigators for the inspector general," said Rep. Vern Tincher, D-Terre Haute.  He and other Democrats worry that the inspector general will deplete resources from the State Police and State Board of Accounts.  In response Gov. Daniels says that the inspector general's position will pay for itself by cutting corruption.  A conference committee still must approve the bill.  More from IndyStar.com... [Mark Godsey]

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