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AG seeks to reinstate misconduct charges against former IURC chief

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The former head of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission could again face criminal charges in connection with his alleged actions surrounding Duke Energy’s Edwardsport power plant in 2010.

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Monday, Sept. 9, that his office has filed an appeal to the dismissal of official misconduct charges against David Lott Hardy. The Attorney General is asking the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse the trial court’s dismissal of the official misconduct charges against Hardy and reinstate them.

Zoeller’s office argued that the Marion County Superior Court was wrong in ruling that the 2012 amendment to Indiana’s misconduct statute was retroactive.  

“We respect the trial court but contend its ruling is incorrect, the 2012 change is not retroactive and the defendant can and should face charges under the law in effect in 2010,” Zoeller stated in a press release. “We ask the Court of Appeals to reinstate the charges so that the trial can proceed and a verdict can be rendered.”

Hardy’s attorney David Hensel, of Pence Hensel LLC, could not be reached for comment.

Hardy was indicted by a Marion County grand jury in 2011 on four counts of Class D felony official misconduct. He was accused of lobbying Duke Energy to hire then IURC administrative law judge Scott Storms, and of having ex parte communications with the power company about the Edwardsport plant in 2010.

On Aug. 12, Marion County Superior Court Judge William Nelson granted the Hardy’s motion to dismiss all charges. It held the Indiana General Assembly’s changes to the criminal official misconduct statute which became effective July 1, 2012, were meant to be retroactive.

Following recommendations of the Indiana Inspector General, the Indiana General Assembly tightened the criminal official misconduct statute. The changes clarified the law applied to specific criminal offenses by public officials and not to violations of ethical or administrative rules or infractions.

Nelson held that because the Legislature acted quickly to the Inspector General’s request, it intended for the change to apply retroactively.

Zoeller asserted if the General Assembly intended to make a 2012 change in the law retroactive, it would have written that language into the statute which it did not do.

“Beyond the issue of law involved in this case is one that addresses important claims of public misconduct, and in order for the public to have trust in our system of laws, there must be accountability, which makes this appeal all the more important,” Zoeller stated.
 
 

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