STATEWIDE–Indiana’s top cop says the way crime is being addressed in Marion County is not working.
“I very publicly and unapologetically criticized a Marion County Court Judge on September 29th,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Carter is referring to the case of Luis Leyba-Gonzalez, 19, who was released from jail in late September on a $1,000 cash bond. Investigators say he killed three people after crashing into another car while driving at around 140 mph in his Dodge Challenger. Court documents say Leyba-Gonzalez eventually admitted to police that he was taking his cousin on a joyride as he hadn’t been in the Challenger before.
Troopers started going after him, but eventually gave up on the chase at East 10th Street and German Church Road about one mile from the crash at East 10th Street and Mitthoefer Road. Three minutes after police stopped the chase, IMPD received calls about Challenger colliding with a Toyota. The driver of the Toyota, later identified as 21-year-old Makayla Hankins, died after being taken to a hospital. There was no one else in that car.
The two passengers in Leyba-Gonzalez’s car, his 32-year-old cousin Jose Gonzalez and 14-year-old brother Christian Leyba-Gonzalez were killed.
Carter reached out to the judge in this case who is Jennifer Harrison. Harrison did not return his call.
“I did attempt to reach out to the judge via phone call. That was inappropriate of me. I know judges cannot take part in ‘ex parte’ conversations. She was correct in not calling me back,” said Carter on Thursday.
Ex-parte conversations are done with respect to or in the interests of one side only or of an interested outside party. Nevertheless, Carter says this incident in late September is an “indicator of a flawed system.”
Carter acknowledges that sometimes police deserve criticism, but they also need help from the public in fighting crime.
“We also need the judiciary to be held more accountable. The degradation of our system like this affects the entire state,” said Carter.
The Police Group representing thousands of Indianapolis police officers is backing Superintendent Doug Carter’s call for a comprehensive reform of the Marion County Criminal Justice system.
You can hear the media briefing with Carter below.
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