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Ex-prosecutor's official charged in gambling ring

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A former chief investigator for a western Indiana prosecutor faces official misconduct and other charges stemming from allegations that he protected a gambling ring from arrest.

James J. Counterman, 71, of Terre Haute, faces three counts of inducing an individual to commit professional gambling and three counts of official misconduct. He appeared Wednesday for an initial hearing.

The charges stem from allegations Counterman told operators of illegal poker games in Terre Haute that for a "price" they would not be prosecuted for illegal gambling activities, the Tribune-Star reported.

Vigo County Prosecutor Terry Modisett fired Counterman as his chief investigator in December after learning of the gambling investigation.

Investigator Edward McHargue of the Indiana Gaming Commission said in a probable cause affidavit that the Counterman investigation began in October 2009 when someone reported his alleged actions to a commission agent at the riverboat casino in Evansville. That informant stated that he had previously operated an illegal poker game in Terre Haute and provided information about others who were operating illegal games at the time.

In February 2011, a confidential informant said Counterman "protected" gambling operators from prosecution. The case included occasions when conversations were recorded by investigators. In a June 2011 conversation, Counterman reportedly told the informant: "We got a list of everything that's going on in town. We know where every game is played. We've got license plate numbers of every person playing."

In another statement, Counterman said, "We are the ones who decide what, or if charges should be filed. So Billy wants to run a game, it's not legal. I told him he could. I don't care."

The probable cause affidavit also states Counterman sometimes accepted cash from people running gambling operations and checks as political contributions.

McHargue said "no evidence was developed that showed that the prosecutor (Modesitt) was aware of the representations that Counterman was making regarding Counterman's authority and/or ability to 'protect' individuals from criminal charges."

Vigo Superior Judge David Bolk said he would recuse himself from the case because of his past work with Counterman and that a special judge from another county likely would take over. Bolk scheduled a Sept. 9 hearing.

A message seeking comment was left for Counterman's attorney.

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  1. As one of the many consumers affected by this breach, I found my bank data had been lifted and used to buy over $200 of various merchandise in New York. I did a pretty good job of tracing the purchases to stores around a college campus just from the info on my bank statement. Hm. Mr. Hill, I would like my $200 back! It doesn't belong to the state, in my opinion. Give it back to the consumers affected. I had to freeze my credit and take out data protection, order a new debit card and wait until it arrived. I deserve something for my trouble!

  2. Don't we have bigger issues to concern ourselves with?

  3. Anyone who takes the time to study disciplinary and bar admission cases in Indiana ... much of which is, as a matter of course and by intent, off the record, would have a very difficult time drawing lines that did not take into account things which are not supposed to matter, such as affiliations, associations, associates and the like. Justice Hoosier style is a far departure than what issues in most other parts of North America. (More like Central America, in fact.) See, e.g., http://www.theindianalawyer.com/indiana-attorney-illegally-practicing-in-florida-suspended-for-18-months/PARAMS/article/42200 When while the Indiana court system end the cruel practice of killing prophets of due process and those advocating for blind justice?

  4. Wouldn't this call for an investigation of Government corruption? Chief Justice Loretta Rush, wrote that the case warranted the high court’s review because the method the Indiana Court of Appeals used to reach its decision was “a significant departure from the law.” Specifically, David wrote that the appellate panel ruled after reweighing of the evidence, which is NOT permissible at the appellate level. **But yet, they look the other way while an innocent child was taken by a loving mother who did nothing wrong"

  5. Different rules for different folks....

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