Panel likely to suggest shrinking drug-free zones


A legislative study panel likely will suggest the General Assembly scale back a law that enhances penalties for dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, youth program buildings and other areas where children gather.

Republican Rep. Ralph Foley of Martinsville says the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission he chairs likely will recommend legislation that reduces the size of the zones or the number of areas covered. The panel will consider proposed legislation at its Oct. 18 meeting.

Lawmakers expressed several concerns about the current law, including that it may serve primarily as a tool for prosecutors to get defendants to strike plea bargains.

However, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter said all of Indiana's county prosecuting attorneys support the current law, and he urged lawmakers not to reduce the 1,000-foot radius.

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