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4 charged after investigation of ballot petition case

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Four people in St. Joseph County have been charged following an investigation into whether signatures were forged on an election ballot petition for president in the 2008 Indiana primary election. A special prosecutor has been assigned to the cases.

South Bend residents Owen “Butch” Morgan, 63; Pam Brunette, 62; Dustin Blythe, 38; and Beverly D. Shelton, 63, were formally charged Monday by the St. Joseph County Prosecutor’s office. The four face charges ranging from conspiracy to commit petition fraud to forgery and official misconduct.

According to the probable cause affidavits filed, the four participated in forging signatures on petitions to get candidates Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama on the primary ballot. Lucas Burkett went to police in 2011 with information about forged signatures on these petitions. Burkett was an employee of the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office. Burkett, a Democratic, was heavily involved with the local Democratic Party, which was led by Morgan, who was chairman. Morgan was the one who allegedly instructed Burkett and the other defendants to forge ballot petitions for presidential candidates.

Brunette, Blythe, and Shelton were employees in the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office at the time they allegedly knowingly accepted and falsely certified the ballot petitions and/or forged signatures.

Morgan faces two counts of Class D felony conspiracy to commit petition fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit forgery as Class C felonies; Brunette has been charged with two counts each of Class C felony forgery, Class D felony falsely making a petition of nomination, and official misconduct; Blythe faces nine counts of Class C felony forgery and one count of Class D felony falsely making a petition of nomination; and Shelton is charged with nine counts of Class C felony forgery and one count of Class D felony falsely making a petition of nomination.

Stanley M. Levco, the former prosecutor of Vanderburgh County, has been appointed to serve as special prosecutor in this case. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak asked for the special prosecutor because there is a chance he may be called as a witness.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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