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US Attorney Hogsett steps down amid mayoral talk

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U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett announced Monday he will step down from the post by the end of the month and several prominent Democrats said they hope it is a sign he plans to run for mayor of Indianapolis next year.

Hogsett's resignation letter to Attorney General Eric Holder didn't give a reason for his decision to step down as the top federal prosecutor for central and southern Indiana and his spokesman, Tim Horty, said Hogsett had no further comment on the decision. Federal law prohibits Hogsett, who previously said he planned to stay on as U.S. attorney through 2016, from being involved in politics while in office.

Former Sen. Even Bayh, who named Hogsett his chief of staff when he was governor and nominated him for the U.S. attorney post four years ago, said he hopes his longtime friend will run for mayor.

"I think he would be a great mayor, particularly with his record on fighting crime and violence in our streets," he said.

Dan Parker, who resigned as Indiana Democratic Party chairman in 2011, said Hogsett should run, citing the biggest issue before Indianapolis "spiraling violent crime." Parker has ruled out running for mayor.

"Given his background as the U.S. attorney and what he's done in that office, his record of achievement, he'd have the strongest background of anyone in our party here in the city to tackle that," Parker said.

Indianapolis has been struggling with a spike in violence, with 72 homicides in just over six months — a pace that could rival 1998, when the city set a record with 162 homicides. Over the Fourth of July weekend, a police officer was fatally shot and seven people were wounded in a gun battle in a popular nightlife district.

Parker said Indianapolis needs a leader who knows how to deal with crime.

"He has shown he can be effective in prosecuting crimes — going after illegal possession of guns by criminals and public corruption. He has a record of trying to hold public officials up to the highest standard," Parker said.

Hogsett doesn't have a strong record of winning elections. He was appointed secretary of state to complete Bayh's unfinished term when he became governor in 1989 and was elected to the office in 1990. He ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1992, for Congress in 1994 and for Indiana attorney general in 2004.

Bayh said he thinks this time could be different.

"Sometimes, the man and the moment happen to meet, and he's had an outstanding record of fighting crime and violence across the Southern District of Indiana. That happens to be the foremost challenge facing the city of Indianapolis right now, and so that might be a nice combination to have in the next mayor," Bayh said.

Asked whether he would be willing to share with Hogsett some of the $9.8 million cash on hand in campaign funds he has, according to a Federal Election Commission campaign finance report, Bayh said: "I'll be happy to do whatever I'm legally allowed to do for him."

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard, a Republican, is expected to seek a third term but hasn't yet announced he will run. Frank Short, a Democratic trustee for Washington Township and a former Indianapolis city-county councilor, announced in February he would run for mayor.

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  1. Paul Ogden doing a fine job of remembering his peer Gary Welsh with the post below and a call for an Indy gettogether to celebrate Gary .... http://www.ogdenonpolitics.com/2016/05/indiana-loses-citizen-journalist-giant.html Castaways of Indiana, unite!

  2. It's unfortunate that someone has attempted to hijack the comments to promote his own business. This is not an article discussing the means of preserving the record; no matter how it's accomplished, ethics and impartiality are paramount concerns. When a party to litigation contracts directly with a reporting firm, it creates, at the very least, the appearance of a conflict of interest. Court reporters, attorneys and judges are officers of the court and must abide by court rules as well as state and federal laws. Parties to litigation have no such ethical responsibilities. Would we accept insurance companies contracting with judges? This practice effectively shifts costs to the party who can least afford it while reducing costs for the party with the most resources. The success of our justice system depends on equal access for all, not just for those who have the deepest pockets.

  3. As a licensed court reporter in California, I have to say that I'm sure that at some point we will be replaced by speech recognition. However, from what I've seen of it so far, it's a lot farther away than three years. It doesn't sound like Mr. Hubbard has ever sat in a courtroom or a deposition room where testimony is being given. Not all procedures are the same, and often they become quite heated with the ends of question and beginning of answers overlapping. The human mind can discern the words to a certain extent in those cases, but I doubt very much that a computer can yet. There is also the issue of very heavy accents and mumbling. People speak very fast nowadays, and in order to do that, they generally slur everything together, they drop or swallow words like "the" and "and." Voice recognition might be able to produce some form of a transcript, but I'd be very surprised if it produces an accurate or verbatim transcript, as is required in the legal world.

  4. Really enjoyed the profile. Congratulations to Craig on living the dream, and kudos to the pros who got involved to help him realize the vision.

  5. Why in the world would someone need a person to correct a transcript when a realtime court reporter could provide them with a transcript (rough draft) immediately?

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