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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. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

  3. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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