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Plea deal rejected for ex-Indiana county auditor

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 Lawyers are reworking an agreement under which a former county auditor in southern Indiana was expected to plead guilty to criminal charges of wrongly paying personal expenses with county-issued credit cards.

The Owen County judge overseeing the case against former Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman rejected a proposed plea agreement during a court hearing Monday.

Gerstman, 44, faces felony counts of theft and official misconduct related to some $11,000 in charges during 2010 and 2011 for clothing, travel to New York and Florida and her children's school tuition.

The penalties in the proposed plea agreement weren't released, but special prosecutor Barry Brown said the judge wanted Gerstman to face greater punishment.

"She wants the defendant to take more accountability for her actions," Brown told The Herald-Times.

Gerstman is a Democrat who was elected in 2008 and served a four-year term in the county that includes Bloomington.

Defense attorney Ron Chapman said he submitted a new proposed plea agreement to Brown later Monday.

Chapman said Gerstman has paid all of the county credit card bills and was working to repay $3,600 in fees the county has had to pay during the investigation. He said he hopes Gerstman can avoid a felony conviction.

"Having seven felonies pending against her has pretty much kept her out of the job market," he said. "No one will hire her, and she is the sole support for her two children."

Judge Lori Quillen scheduled a new plea hearing for Sept. 19.

The misspending charges include the use of county credit cards to pay $1,800 in school tuition for Gerstman's children and nearly $2,600 for airfare, hotel accommodations and a seminar in New York City that Gerstman never attended.

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  1. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  2. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  3. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  4. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

  5. Here's an idea...how about we MORE heavily regulate the law schools to reduce the surplus of graduates, driving starting salaries up for those new grads, so that we can all pay our insane amount of student loans off in a reasonable amount of time and then be able to afford to do pro bono & low-fee work? I've got friends in other industries, radiology for example, and their schools accept a very limited number of students so there will never be a glut of new grads and everyone's pay stays high. For example, my radiologist friend's school accepted just six new students per year.

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