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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues