Criminal Code Reform Allows Break For Dealer Who Sold Fatal Heroin Dose
By Mike Perleberg
Jason Frank. Photo by Dearborn County Sheriff’s Dept.
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A heroin dealer has reached a plea deal that will spare him a Reckless Homicide conviction.
Jason Frank, of Cleves, was arrested last May after he sold a dose of heroin. The buyer, 22-year-old Brandon Spicer, fatally overdosed on the drug at a home on Meercham Way in Hidden Valley.
Frank was charged with Reckless Homicide (level 5 felony) and Dealing in a Narcotic Drug (level 5 felony).
The 28-year-old pleaded guilty to the dealing charge last month in exchange for the reckless homicide charge being dismissed. Had he been convicted on both charges, Frank would have faced the same amount of time behind bars.
On March 16, Dearborn Circuit Court Judge James D. Humphrey sentenced Frank to the maximum six years allowed for a level 5 felony. Three years and 180 days of that time was suspended to probation. He was credited 317 actual days served in jail prior to sentencing. No good time credit was given due to incidents Frank had while in the Dearborn County jail.
Frank’s earliest possible release date from prison is April 11, 2017, according to the Indiana Department of Corrections.
Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard has previously pointed to Frank’s case as an example of how 2014 criminal code reform in Indiana is letting drug dealers off too easily. Prior to the criminal sentencing changes made by state lawmakers, drug dealers charged with Reckless Homicide could have been – and in some cases were – sentenced up to 20 years behind bars.
Negangard said a maximum of six years isn’t enough of a deterrent for people to think twice about dealing drugs.
At the behest of the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys, state legislators passed a law during the 2016 session allowing judges to sentence repeat drug dealers to a decade in prison.