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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. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

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