House advances Cook’s bill protecting judges, public safety officers

Posted by: Allison Vanatsky  | Tuesday, February 26, 2019

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 26, 2019) – The Indiana House of Representatives voted in support of legislation authored by State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) to enhance sentencing for criminals who commit offenses against judges or public safety officers.

Under current law, it is a felony crime to commit battery against a judicial or public safety officer who is engaged in their official duty. This includes judges, police officers, corrections officers and child protective services agents. However, if a judge or other officer is off-duty or retired, they are considered a private citizen and are not covered by this law. Cook’s legislation would extend this protection to retired or off-duty judges and officers if they are attacked in retaliation for making an arrest, participating in a trial, or offering sentencing.

“Just because a judge or police officer is not on the clock does not mean they cannot be targeted for their work,” Cook said. “If a criminal is released from prison and tries to take revenge on people involved in their sentencing, that crime should carry a heavier weight. It does not matter if it occurs in a courtroom or in their home, they are still targeted for their role in the justice system.”

The bill would also allow retired judicial officers to carry a firearm in the same locations as an active officer, like courthouses. Occasionally retired judges can work at courthouses to help ease workloads. Cook said this provision would allow them to defend themselves in the same capacity as active duty officers and judges.

House Bill 1235 now moves to the Senate for consideration. Visit iga.in.gov for more information.

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State Rep. Tony Cook (R-Cicero) represents House District 32, which includes all of Tipton County and portions of Hamilton, Madison, Delaware, Howard and Grant counties.

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