Prosecutor feels ‘hug a thug’ law isn’t punishing criminals

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JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (May 7, 2015) –The Johnson County prosecutor feels a new law is "hugging" suspected criminals instead of punishing them.

Prosecutor Brad Cooper is referring to Ira Link.  Link is accused of raping an elderly woman in her Greenwood home on Friday morning. Court documents reveal Link forced himself into the victim’s home, raped her, and threatened her life.

Investigators say the victim had several bruises and scratches on her face and arms.

According to court documents, Link admitted to the crime, telling his mom, “I raped an elderly lady in Greenwood yesterday. She was about your age.”

If Link is convicted, the maximum time he can spend behind bars is 63 years.  If Link would've committed this crime last year before July, the maximum sentenced would've been 168 years.

“To reduce these violent sorts of crimes, the punishment for those is just not the way we should be going in Indiana,” said Cooper.

Lawmakers revised Indiana’s criminal code last year. The purpose is to reduce prison population and keep the worst offenders locked up longer. Cooper feels the new laws are letting criminals off easy.

“I call it the hug a thug laws because you are basically hugging criminals. You’re giving them reduced sentences for some of the most violent crimes and I think it’s ridiculous,” explains Cooper.

If convicted, Cooper says Link will be eligible for early release at any time.  Before Indiana’s new criminal code was passed, Link would not have been eligible for early release.

Link previously served 20 years for child molesting. He got out of jail last June.

He is currently at the Johnson County jail being held on a $272,000 bond.


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