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Brown, first African-American elected to statewide office, dies

IL Staff
February 15, 2013
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Dwayne M. Brown, 50, the first African-American and youngest person elected to statewide office, died Feb. 12. He served as clerk of the Indiana appellate courts before being removed from office in 1994 amid allegations of ghost employment and sexual harassment.

Brown was elected in 1990 but was removed from office after 3 ½ years by the Indiana Supreme Court following a grand jury indictment. He was convicted in Marion Superior Court in November 1995 of seven counts of ghost employment. Several women claimed he made unwanted sexual advances toward them during office hours, although those accusations weren’t raised at trial.

Former staffers in the clerk's office said Brown ordered them to perform political campaign work during office hours. Brown, who staged unsuccessful bids for state attorney general and Congress while acting as clerk, brought staffers on speaking engagements and asked at least one employee to draw a campaign poster, according to testimony.

Brown denied the charges. He received a fine, community service and probation. He lost an appeal before the Indiana Court of Appeals, and he was suspended from practice for three years.

He later started his own law practice.

Brown graduated from Columbia Law School in 1987 after earning his Bachelor of Arts degree from Morehouse College in 1984. He worked as a staff attorney for the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C., and then as counsel to the Indiana secretary of state before being elected as clerk.

Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at Stuart Mortuary Chapel, with a celebration of life at 1 p.m. at Mount Zion Baptist Church, 3500 Graceland Ave., Indianapolis.

 

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