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Brizzi disciplinary case delayed again

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

By the time Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi faces a disciplinary hearing on alleged misconduct about how he publicly discussed pending cases, he’ll have finished his term and will no longer be prosecutor in the state’s largest county.

A two-day hearing set for Oct. 26-27 before Shelby Circuit Judge Charles O’Connor was delayed after both parties asked for a continuance because of discovery issues that have been ongoing for most of the year. A new date is set for January. This is the second time the hearing has been pushed back – it was originally set for the end of April.

Brizzi has denied that he violated any professional conduct rules, as the Disciplinary Commission accused him of last year. A formal complaint filed Oct. 1, 2009, alleges the prosecutor’s public comments about two murder cases crossed the line and violated conduct rules. Brizzi’s statements went beyond the public information purpose and prejudiced the pair of cases, according to the complaint, and amounted to violations of Indiana Professional Conduct Rules 3.8(f) and Rule 3.6(a).

One allegation resulted from an April 2008 news conference where Brizzi made statements about accused multi-state serial killer Bruce Mendenhall, and a second allegation involves a 2006 news release about the Indianapolis Hamilton Avenue slayings, where seven people were killed and Brizzi initially sought the death penalty. A comment in that news release stated about the defendants, “They weren’t going to let anyone or anything get in the way of what they believed to be an easy score.”

After the April hearings were postponed because of ongoing discovery issues, the October dates were scheduled. The Disciplinary Commission attorney and Indianapolis attorney Kevin McGoff, who represents Brizzi, filed a continuance motion on Oct. 19. The motion delves into the “broad” and “voluminous” discovery requests to Indianapolis media outlets, as well as requests that Brizzi’s office couldn’t fill and had to contact the county’s information services agency to explore. Some of those documents have just recently been received and more will likely follow, the motion says.

The new date means that Brizzi, who isn’t seeking a third term and will leave office at year’s end, will no longer be prosecutor once the misconduct hearing happens. Whether that change influences any disciplinary decision-making is unknown, but the Indiana Supreme Court makes the final decision after the hearing officer’s findings and recommendations are submitted.

Rehearing "Prosecutor denies alleged misconduct" IL Jan. 20-Feb. 2, 2010

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