Pharos-Tribune

Breaking News

Opinion

September 23, 2012

Our View: Capping credit time for offenders

The issue: Don Strasser was shocked when his daughter’s killer had his sentence reduced by 75 percent. He’s working to be sure no other parent has the same experience.

Our view: Those who want to help can contact their legislators or sign an online petition.

Don and Sharon Strasser had all of their daughter’s Christmas gifts wrapped when they received a phone call on Dec. 24, 2006, telling them that she had  been strangled at the home she shared with her boyfriend and three-month-old son.

The Strassers were shocked again the following September when 26-year-old daughter Marva Diana Rhea’s killer made a deal that would shrink his  sentence by two thirds. They spoke against the plea bargain, but they took comfort in the thought that the man would spend at least a decade behind bars.

And then came news that even that sentence would be cut in half.

Justin Suits entered prison with 253 days of credit for time he had already spent behind bars. Then he was granted a year off for earning an associate’s  degree in 2010. He shaved another 180 days from the sentence in 2011 for undergoing substance abuse counseling and then 183 days for completing  another program. Finally, the Department of Correction cut almost two years from his sentence for the bachelor’s degree he earned in business management.

The Strassers had previous personal experience with shortened sentences. Don’s sister, her husband, child and unborn child were killed by a drunken driver  in 1972. Because of a plea agreement, the driver received a fine instead of a jail sentence.

Now, Don is taking action. He’s gathering signatures both online and on paper asking Indiana lawmakers to limit the amount of good time credit violent offenders can receive.

The good news for the Strassers is that a group of prosecutors, public defenders and other attorneys has already spent more than a year looking at this and other issues, and the result is a 375-page report calling for tougher penalties for violent offenders. The report also recommends that the state do away with credit time for offenders earning a bachelor’s degree, and it caps the credit time for offenders earning an associate’s degree.

Those recommendations are under review by the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission, which includes Sen. Randy Head of Logansport among its  members.

If you support changes in the law, give Head a call. You can also go online to sign the petition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • THEIR VIEW: Indiana needs open primary elections Indiana's primary election system is dysfunctional. What the state really needs is an open primary system. This month, the Lake County election board argued about the procedures for recruiting high school students as poll workers for the May 6 primar

    April 23, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Tax bills show what smoke & mirrors don't There's a price to be paid for the decline in what we call civic engagement -- and local property taxpayers are paying that price. In case you haven't received your 2014 Cass County property tax statement yet, be prepared for a bit of sticker shock w

    April 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Illinois brings joy to Indiana From the email this week, I sensed a profound need by Hoosiers to find joy in the problems of Illinois. Our neighbors to the west are fighting their way through a mess of their own making. They have forced themselves to raise taxes and cut services t

    April 22, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Let voters weigh option of easing daily commute There was a time in this country when workers typically lived less than an hour's walk from their jobs. A time when a "commuter" was simply a traveler taking advantage of a reduced railway fare on his way to the big city. A time when the American sub

    April 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: Wait a minute here — what did I just sign? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 22, 2014

  • LYONS: How we devalued the 'R' word At the risk of angering somebody like MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, I sometimes used to joke that I only look white. Actually, I'm Irish. Meaning basically that I wasn't raised to think the man in the big house had all the answers, nor deserved all t

    April 21, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Want better teacher ratings? Ask the kids The state may be back where it started, encumbered with a flawed teacher grading system, a year after implementing what were meant to be tough new standards. That was the general consensus of the State Board of Education days after teacher evaluation

    April 21, 2014

  • THEIR VIEW: Careful look at tax structure needed Indiana legislators this year created a "blue-ribbon commission" to study the state's taxes on businesses this summer. We hope the commission will listen to Larry DeBoer, a Purdue professor who might understand Indiana's tax structure better than any

    April 20, 2014

  • KNISELY: Adventures in cat spaying If you're a regular reader of this column, you know I have a cat. I got the cat to deal with the mice. Even if you only pop in on this column from time to time, you still likely know I have mice and that I hate them. I complain about it quite regular

    April 20, 2014

  • PUBLIC FORUM: Letters for Sunday, April 20, 2014 Power forum hopes to answer questions Do you pay electric bills? Then you are invited to learn how Public Power can often lower electric rates. Logansport's coal firing plant must be shut down within two years, and our contract with Duke expires in f

    April 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

Should mushroom hunters be allowed to forage off-trail in Indiana state parks?

Yes
No
Undecided
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.